Literature Review Tools for Scientific Terms: Google Ngram Viewer, Web of Science, APA Thesaurus

It is important to know the historical trends of ‘conceptual terms’ in a literature review such as finding out which terms have been used a lot in the past and which have not been used anymore. This post will introduce some tools to help you understand the historical trend of conceptual terms.

Google Ngram Viewer

Google Books Ngram Viewer shows at a glance how often specific words are used in your Google Books database. You can also compare trends by inserting multiple words as shown below.

As you can see above, the use of the word disabled is decreasing, whereas the use of the people-first term, people with disabilites, is increasing.

Web of Science

If your school’s library is subscribing to the web of science, it provides an amazing overview of the trend of the prior literature (NYU Web of Science Page).

“Analyze results” function is on the right of the search box.

The search results visualize the publication years, document types, journals, publishers, funding agencies, and other information using tree charts or bar charts. The publication titles allow the researchers to find the journal to submit the manuscript.

APA Thesaurus

American Psychological Association (APA) provides its own dictionary including psychological index terms. They update the term annually to reflect the new terms invented and utilized throughout the past year.

The following video provides the guidelines on how to search with APA Thesaurus and Index Terms.

Building a Search with the APA Thesaurus and Index Terms
  • March 28, 2022