Google Ngram Viewer

Google Ngram Viewer is a digital tool like Voyant and the Time Magazine Corpus, which compiles all books from 1500 to 2019 in several languages. In this search engine, a word, phrase, or date can be entered and a graph of information tracking the frequency of the searched term in literature. Partial phrases completed by using “*” in place of the missing words result in different lines on a graph representing the top substitutions. The tool uses lines on a graph to track the frequency of the searched item through history with the X-axis representing time and the Y-axis representing the percentage of the searched item in literature. The filters can be edited to search American English, British English, and other languages and will provide different results instantly.

This way researchers can track the popularity of the searched item. The results will immediately clue the researcher in on the time periods most relevant to their research and how it faded from popularity. The searched time periods can also be edited to narrow the search to a custom set of years. The ability to search multiple items against each other is a great, easy way to compare and contrast the popularity of each item over time.

On the bottom of the page is an “interesting” year range the connects the user with results from Google Books. This way the user can track the texts relevant to their search in the time period they desire. This digital tool is an important resource to researchers looking for texts to access related to their field of research. The popularity of the searched item also informs the user of the societal shifts surrounding the searched item. This data alone can be valuable to support the researcher’s argument. It enables researchers to ask questions about the differences in results based on the filters, for instance, the difference in results when searching “Nursery Schools” in British English and American English. This clues the researcher in on the different levels of focus in societies around the world on the same subject. The researcher has access to start their search in a subject by looking at it through time and locations. Other ways researchers can narrow their search is by adding “_VERB” or “_NOUN” to a word like “Tackle”. Searching the verb will result in different results than the noun and the search can be changed to a list of tags found on the “About Ngram Viewer” link. Here researchers can educate themselves about what the search can do, how it can be used, and what they’re looking at means.

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