The ASME 2020 Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) is the 15th annual meeting organized by the Manufacturing Engineering Division (MED) of ASME. MED and ASME MSEC focuses on manufacturing sciences, technology, and applications, including machining, materials processing, sensing, robotics, manufacturing system dynamics, and production optimization. As the conference has grown and evolved from its inception, it can be difficult to intuitively visualize and discuss the broad range of research topics covered by the MSEC community or to intuitively ascertain their evolution throughout time. This paper discusses a methodology to quantitatively model research communities within bodies of literature — specifically, the relative change of relevant topics within AMSE MSEC conference papers through time, from 2006 through 2018. The goal of this work is to not only present how research in MSEC has shifted over time, but in a broader sense to provide a discussion on how others can interpret results so that similar analysis can be produced within other research communities. This methodology can be used to identify overlap of communities, monitor growth or stagnation within the communities, to aid in developing new symposiums and communities of interest, or even to dictate future standards needs by looking at research trends and subsequent standard development.