Visualize Scholarly Trends


This is a recipe to use textual visualization tools such as a Word cloud or visual Collocation tool to identify streams of thought, trends and potential avenues for scholarly investigation.

  • An area of scholarly interest
  • An Aggregate collection of abstracts
  • A Word cloud tool such as Voyant Cirrus
  • A Visual Collocation tool such as Voyant Links
  1. Consider an area of potential scholarly interest;
  2. Collect a representative series of abstracts from existing scholarship ;
  3. Aggregate the text of these abstracts using a dedicated text aggregator or simply by using a text editor;
  4. Generate a word cloud from the aggregated abstracts using a tool such as Voyant Cirrus;
  5. Consider the word cloud identifying most common words and mentally constructing word groups;
  6. Generate a visual collocaton diagram using a tool such as Voyant Links;
  7. Explore particularly interesting words through the interactive diagram returned;
  8. Construct an avenue for further exploration from the identified trends, gaps and questions raised through visual examination.
  • Finding Abstracts

Possible sources for electronic abstracts are listed on the Electronic Texts Panel of TAPoR.

Next steps / further information