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Digital Scholarship

Data Visualization

What is Data Visualization?

"Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. By using visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps, data visualization tools provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data. 

In the world of Big Data, data visualization tools and technologies are essential to analyze massive amounts of information and make data-driven decisions."

Data Visualization can help you to:

  • Comprehend information quickly
  • Pinpoint emerging trends
  • Identify relationships and patterns
  • Communicate the story to others


Things to Consider:


Choosing Your Visualization

Thinking about what kind of data you have to work with and what kind of visualization will best tell your data story and convey information accurately is important when selecting a type of chart or graph:

From data to VizThe data visualization decision tree helps users to pick the best visualization for their research


Colors Selections

While data visualization softwares and programs allow users to create eye-catching and visually appealing graphs and charts, there are a few things to be mindful of when creating a data visualization:

Viz Pallete: When choosing colors for your graph, it's important to consider accessibility, especially if viewers have color blindness. This website takes user-specified color input and displays what various colored graph types would look like to people with types of colorblindness.

Datawrapper: What to Consider when Choosing Colors for Data Visualization: A quick overview of what to consider when choosing colors for different type of graphs. One important question is: what do you want to the viewer to take away from the graph?


Data Ethics

Data visualization can have a huge impact on how people understand important topics and make decisions. When creating data visualizations, it's essential to remember that data is not neutral and we have a responsibility to not create misleading charts & graphs and be transparent about where the data comes from and who collected it. 

Importance of Ethics in Visualization

Data Visualization Code of Ethics

Ethical Dimensions of Visualization Research

PolicyViz Podcast Episode on Data Ethics


For information on data visualization, check out Tableau's guide for beginners with examples. If you're looking for data sets, check out our research guide on Data & Statistics!


SAS (n.d.) Data Visualization: What it is and why it matters.

Tableau (n.d.) Data visualization beginner's guide: a definition, examples, and learning resources.