My name is Laura Blasi. I work in the field of assessment and institutional research, evaluate grants in the field of education, and teach research methods to graduate students. In all cases I am trying to communicate in ways that are engaging but are still have meaning (to them and for me.) I write a lot of reports, and I always want to convey my findings graphically, and I try to find a way to integrate the images into my writing. My resource is using Sparklines to help convey visual data.
Rad Resource: Edward Tufte in his book Beautiful Evidence defined sparklines as “intense, simple, wordlike graphics” – so when you see a graph illustrating the rise and fall of the dollar over several years and that graph is embedded in a paragraph only as high as the letters in this sentence.
Using sparklines I can show a trend and you do not have to break from reading to find a separate chart or graph somewhere else on the page. About sparklines and more examples from outside of evaluation here: http://bit.ly/TufteSparklines
I wanted to share this here and would love to see other examples actually made in evaluation reports in our field – maybe knowing the importance and/or the impact would be great, too. Has anyone done this for a funder or agency?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.