This analysis employed media research methods that combined Pew Research’s content analysis rules with computer coding software developed by Crimson Hexagon. This report is based on examinations of more than 1.5 million tweets.

Crimson Hexagon is a software platform that identifies statistical patterns in words used in online texts. Researchers enter key terms using Boolean search logic so the software can identify relevant material to analyze. Pew Research draws its analysis sample from several million blogs, all public Twitter posts. Then a researcher trains the software to classify documents using examples from those collected posts. Finally, the software classifies the rest of the online content according to the patterns derived during the training.  

The time frame for the analysis was September 27-30, 2013.

The Boolean search used to identify tweets discussed the shutdown was: shutdown OR “government shutdown” OR “shut down.” The Boolean search used to identify tweets that discussed health care was: obamacare OR “obama care” OR ACA OR “affordable care” OR “health care” OR “health insurance” OR “healthcare” OR defund OR repeal.