My name is Bianca Montrosse and I am a Research and Evaluation Specialist with the SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Since receiving my first Edward R. Tufte book as a gift, I’ve been searching for ways to visually articulate data that are both innovative and informative. Below are some rad resources and a cool trick that I have encountered during this quest.
Rad resource: Two lectures on http://www.ted.com/ are particularly fascinating in terms of conveying complex information in an interesting way. Hans Rosling’s lecture entitled, “Let my dataset change your mindset” uses data-bubble software (www.gapminder.org) about the developing world to address common misconceptions. The lecture can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/HRosling. For those of us who commonly work with data collected over multiple time points, I think the possibilities are limitless.
The other lecture is by JoAnn Kuchera-Morin. In the lecture, she demos the Allosphere which she describes as a new way to see, here, and interpret scientific data. While I suspect the ability to create similar presentations with evaluation data are hindered by a number of factors, what I appreciate about her lecture is that she has incorporated multiple mediums to convey complex information. And, that is the lesson I take away from this lecture and try to apply in my own evaluation work. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin’s lecture can be viewed at http://bit.ly/JKMorin.
Cool Trick: Stuck in a rut visually displaying your qualitative data? Try a word cloud. The one I prefer is Wordle because the software gives prominence to words that appear more frequently. So, words that are mentioned most often appear larger in font than those mentioned less often. http://www.wordle.net/
Rad Resource: Looking for other innovative visual displays to get your creative juices flowing? Check out the human trafficking poster created by Taulant Bushi (http://tinyurl.com/22jkm9) to show the number of individuals smuggled into and out of countries worldwide. Whether you zoom out or zoom it, it’s quite an impressive display of a lot of information. Another example is Good Magazine’s comparison of the first 100 days of 13 U.S. Presidents. I think this one does a particular good job of conveying information concerning a number of different data points over time. http://bit.ly/1st100days
This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluations, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to email@example.com.