Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: A Primer on Data Visualization

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 10:15am
Eva Mitre

A tutorial of Tableau seen centre, the data visualization production software at the end of the workshop.

On Thursday, January 28th, Professor Jodie Jenkinson and PhD student Andrea Gauthier led a workshop sponsored by the FLC to help IMI students build their data visualization skills.

The workshop began with a presentation by Professor Jenkinson that highlighted common mistakes made when visually representing data and provided strategies for correcting those errors. Something as simple as removing black borders on bar graphs of categorical data can make a chart easier for an audience to process and understand.

Professor Jenkinson also shared helpful advice on how to select the appropriate chart or visualization type for your data, depending on what kind of data is involved and the story you want to tell.

The last half of the workshop took the attendees through an online tutorial designed by Andrea that introduced users to Tableau®.  Tableau is web-based software which allows users to design and generate interactive data visualizations. projects and is available as both a free, cloud-based application and as licensed, fee-based software.  The tutorial took workshop participants step-by-step through the software, using OECD multivariate data on youth unemployment as the 'raw material' for insightful and visually appealing visualizations.

Students looking to further explore the Tableau platform can do so by using a licensed version in CCT3160 lab computers (available until April 30, 2016) or by downloading the free application here.  Andrea's Tableau tutorial and the accompanying OECD data files can be found here.