Wordle your dissertation

i-f875c0b07d9b3cb6229668554781b35a-alice.jpgOne of my graduate students reminded my co-instructors and me of a fun internet tool called Wordle which takes text you give it, and makes a graphical representation of the text based on the number of times certain words appear. We used this idea to summarize the course we’ve just finished on the history and philosophy of engineering education, and then I wanted to keep playing so I made a wordle of my dissertation. The whole thing. Well, except for the references.

It’s below the fold. If you want to play along, wordle your dissertation at and share the link with us either from the wordle site or on your own blog. I can’t wait to see them!

Here it is, click on it to go to Flickr to make it bigger:

my dissertation, wordled!
Made at


  1. #1 dean
    December 11, 2008
  2. #3 Ixu
    December 11, 2008
  3. #5 PEM
    December 11, 2008

    Here’s mine. Can you guess what it’s about?

  4. #7 Lynne
    December 11, 2008

    It was next to impossible for me to remove references and citations without spending hours on this, but I kind of like how it turned out with the references in there. Especially the “et al” part.

    Well, it’s no secret who I am now. 🙂

  5. #8 said student....
    December 11, 2008

    I’m quite impressed that I managed to inspire a wordle craze….. Too bad I don’t have a dissertation to wordle yet…. Hmmmmm….What could I wordle now?

  6. #10 LM
    December 11, 2008
  7. #11 squawky
    December 11, 2008

    OK, maybe less than anonymous (although my name doesn’t appear in the wordle…), but what the heck… it was fun!

  8. #12 ScienceWoman
    December 12, 2008

    You all work on such neat things. Here’s our blog’s front page as of right now:

  9. #13 ambivalent academic
    December 12, 2008

    I don’t have a dissertation yet but I wordled my recent review paper. It’s beautiful! But I’m not posting it here since my specialty is so narrow that I’d give up my pseudonimity pretty quickly. I did print it out and now it grances the cover of my lab notebook. Yay!

  10. #14 Joyce
    December 12, 2008

    This is too much fun! My M.S. Thesis wordled:

  11. #15 Dr. Zeek
    December 12, 2008

    Ohhh, I could spend hours doing this!
    My first first-author paper from post-doc lab

  12. #16 Alice
    December 12, 2008

    These are so cool… more, more!

  13. #17 JD
    December 12, 2008

    My dissertation is nearly 10 years old, and on another computer…but my most recent major writing project was a paper for my tenure portfolio:

  14. #18 Emily
    December 12, 2008

    This is really addicting! Here are both of my undergrad theses, since I don’t have a dissertation yet:

  15. #19 student
    December 13, 2008

    Found something to Wordle…. This is my semester 🙂

  16. #20 C.C.
    December 13, 2008

    Fun! I just found your blog & you’ve already given me something to play with. No dissertation yet, but here’s a paper on how to write undergrad lab reports … I like how it picks out what’s important!‘s_Important_in_a_Paper
    and part of an introduction to a research proposal (almost creepy):!
    I love the suggestion a couple of comments up about putting these on lab notebooks …

  17. #21 C.C.
    December 13, 2008
  18. #22 Carlie
    December 16, 2008

    I can’t stop!!!! I’m doing my annual reports for the last few years to see if the big words change any…

  19. #23 Alice
    December 17, 2008

    The graduate students in my history and philosophy of engineering education course wordled their final concept map that was supposed to synthesize all the big ideas for the semester. The wordles are posted here:

  20. #24 Joyce
    December 19, 2008

    It looks like there isn’t a link to the graduate students wordles.

  21. #25 Alice
    December 20, 2008

    Sorry, I think I’ve fixed it now.

  22. #26 Ewan
    December 28, 2008

    Fun! My thesis is not on this machine, but here are a recent grant:

    and the first paper to come from it:

    – very cute! [I like how ‘et’ and ‘al’ show up so highly!]

  23. #27 nurban
    December 31, 2008

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