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LIBRARY GUIDE TO EC 6996 - Research Project Phase II

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Picture: Amanda Nichols Hess

Amanda Nichols Hess
Associate Professor

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Important Considerations in Visualizing Data
 As you think about taking your collected data and making some sort of visual representation, it's important to consider your purpose. That is, what do you want to convey to others? What do you want to show or demonstrate by making your collected information into some sort of visual representation? When considering purpose, it's also important to think about the:
  • Context: How are others going to view your visualization -- as part of a presentation, in a paper, or in another format? Will you be present to give the data some context, or will others be viewing your visualization without you there to explain?
  • Kind of data to represent: Have you collected statistical information, or did you transcribe interviews? Have you collected a series of images? These different information sources will lead to different kinds of data visualizations. Generally, quantitative information
From these considerations of purpose, context, and the kind of information you want to represent, you can begin to think about how you can best present your data. If you have quantitative (number) information to show, this chart may help you to consider how you can make your information visually clear and appealing:
Choosing a good chart - from http://extremepresentation.typepad.com/blog/2006/09/choosing_a_good.html
If you want to represent qualitative data -- which is, simply put, more word- or narrative-based -- it may also be worthwhile to discuss your data source, purpose, and context with your professor / librarian to brainstorm ideas for the best ways to represent qualitative information. This isn't as clear-cut as representing numbers in a chart form, so don't hesitate to ask for help!
Data Sources
In addition to the data you have, you may also find that these external data sources provide useful information that can be integrated into your research:

US Government Data
Country Information
Data Visualization Tools
Some tools for data visualization include:
Duke University Data Visualization Tools
Duke University Libraries, which have a department of Data and Visualization Services, offer many resources that may be helpful to you:


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