Liz Zadnik with Favorites from Effective Data Visualization: The Right Chart for the Right Data

Happy Saturday everyone!  I’m Liz Zadnik, aea365’s Outreach Coordinator.  I have a bit of a confession to make, I may have set too high of a bar with myself – I expected to share reflections from each of the books on my reading list last year.  Definitely missed the mark.  I’m disappointed in myself, but I’m ready to jump back in and start fresh!  So away we go…

I love design and creating accessible and relevant tools, so it made sense I was drawn to Stephanie Evergreen’s newest book, Effective Data Visualization: The Right Chart for the Right Data (I even preordered!).  I have long been a fan of her blog and contributions to the field – I was very excited to dive into the book as my summer beach read.  It offers research on visualization and how folks absorb and best interpret graphs and charts.

Lesson Learned: As a trainer, I’ve been conditioned to share what’s going to happen.  I offer background and some tips for practice (it’s not that simple, but you know…) and I try to be as straightforward as possible.  I’m not a great storyteller and this book helped bridge a gap for me.  It helped me over that last block.  I highlighted and underlined, “We visualize to communicate a point.  We also visualize to add legitimacy and credibility.”  Skills and new information don’t make something meaningful, it’s helping people synthesize the information and make connections.

Rad Resources: Discovering the opportunities of data visualization has been a very exciting process!  This book has really inspired me to discover new ways to tell stories and generate excitement for evaluation and research.  I’m positive I’ll be referring back to highlighted and dog-eared pages of the book, but I’m also interested in some online courses and learning:

I have a few more books on my shelf and even more on my wish list.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to share more thoughts with you in the future.  Feel free to share your favorites with me – I’m always looking for recommendations!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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