Phrase Net

The size of the text represents word frequency within the text. The connections between words are usually displayed as arrows where their directionality and width communicate the flow and strength of connected words. 

Words can be linked with various connectors such as “and,” “the,” “at,” space, or a custom connection term. 


Here are two examples of phrase nets created using Many Eyes. The text is from interview transcripts of individuals discussing their experience with homelessness. (Sisters Of The Road [2002] Voices of Homelessness: a qualitative database from sisters of the road. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from

Words separate by the keyword "and"

Words that directly follow one another

Source: Sisters of the Road (2002)


Advice for CHOOSING this option

Phrasenets are useful for exploring how words are linked in a text and like word clouds and word trees can be informative for early data analysis. 

Advice for USING this option

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Many Eyes Phrase Net Tool: This Tool from Many Eyes by IBM Research allows the user to input any text and then create a phrase net that displays the relationships between different words used in the text

Other ways to analyse a text

Word Cloud
Displaying the words in a qualitative dataset, organised by frequency of use.

Word Tree
Displaying of the words in qualitative dataset, where frequently used words are connected by branches to the other words that appear nearby in the data.



van Ham, F., Wattenberg, M., & Viégas, F. (2009). Mapping text with phrase nets. IEEE Transactions on Visualizations and Computer Graphics, 15(6):1169-1176.

Updated: 1st October 2014 - 7:42pm
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