Google Books NGram Viewer and Parli-N-Gram

Google Books NGram Viewer

The Google Books Ngram Viewer charts frequencies of words or sentences found in the sources drawn from Google Books.  You can use it to  track the popularity of words and phrases over time so it can be a very useful content analysis tool.  As with lots of Goole products, it is also very simple to use

For in depth information anout the way it operates and advice on searching take a look at the Google Books Ngram Viewer information page.

You can run simple searches or construct more complex searches, depending on your research needs. Here is an example of a simple search run to look at the emergence and use of a few ‘management speak’ jargon terms.


You can search online to find plenty of examples of graphs that users have been generating using this tool.  This article from Marshall Kirkpatrick presents his selection of 10 fascinating word graphs.

It is a very powerful tool, and its value as a research tool was discussed in a 2011 Science article. Researchers have flagged its limitations as well as its value, so it is worth being aware of these issues as you do your own research and decide what conclusions you can draw from the data.

A brief discussion of the pitfalls of the tool are online from An in depth discussion of the limitations were addressed in a Plos One article.


The Parli-N-Gram tool is similar in function.  This tool enables you to search and analyse content across Hansard.  You can identify the frequency of appearance of words and phrases in the record of parliamentary debates.

The data is refreshed weekly, usually on a Wednesday following Prime Minister’s Questions.

Find out more from the Accountability Hack 2014 slideshare.

Here is an comparison of the term ‘justice’ appearing in the parliamentary record of All MPs and of Tony Blair.


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