Association scores range on scale from -1.00 to 1.00. These are extremes which represent the weakest and the strongest possible relationships:
- An association score of 1.00 represents the relationship between a concept and itself, while -1.00 is the relationship between a concept and the most unrelated other concept within the same data set.
- A 0.00 score represents how much we would expect two concepts to be discussed at the same time as a result of random chance.
Thus, association scores above 0 indicate that two concepts are being discussed together more often than we would expect from random chance, while association scores below 0 indicate that two concepts are not frequently being talked about at the same time. (This is typically an indication that consumers are not associating those concepts with each other in the data set being analyzed.)
For example, let's say we're analyzing three concepts: "happy," "product," and "packaging." "Happy" and "product" have an association score of 0.26, "happy" and "packaging" have an association score of -0.18, and "product" and "packaging" have an association score of -0.01.
The 0.26 association score between "happy" and "product" indicates that consumers frequently associate happiness with the product, and we can thus infer that something about the product itself is pleasing to the consumer.
The -0.18 association score between "happy" and "packaging" simply indicates that consumers use the term "happy" to describe the packaging less often than random chance would suggest. This does not necessarily mean that they are unhappy with the packaging. It just means that they are typically not using the term "happy" when discussing the packaging. They may be using a different term ("easy to open"), or may be speaking of the packaging in a neutral way. These are important distinctions in interpreting the data.
The 0.00 association score between "product" and "packaging" indicates that consumers discuss the product and packaging together as a result of random chance. <0.00 would indicate no notable associations among consumers between these two concepts. The more negative the score, the more remote the association between concepts.