Data use starts with data visualization

Filed Under (Data Analysis, program evaluation) by Molly on 17-12-2012

At the end of January, participants in an evaluation capacity building program I lead will provide highlights of the evaluations they completed for this program.  That the event happens to be in Tucson and I happen to be able to get out of the wet and dreary northwest is no accident.  The event will capstone WECT (Western [Region] Evaluation Capacity Training–Say ‘west’) participants evaluations of the past 17 months.  Since each participant will be presenting their programs and the evaluations they did of those programs.  There will be a lot of data (hopefully).  The participants and those data could use (or not) a new and innovative take on data visualization.  Susan Kistler, AEA’s Executive Director, has blogged in AEA365 several times about data visualization.  Perhaps these reposts will help.


Susan Kistler says • “Colleagues, I wanted to return to this ongoing discussion. At this year’s conference (Evaluation ’12), I did a presentation on 25 low-cost/no-cost tech tools for data visualization and reporting. An outline of the tools covered and the slides may be accessed via the related aea365 post here If you download the slides, each tool includes a link to access it, cost information, and in most cases supplementary notes and examples as needed.

A couple of the new ones that were favorites included wallwisher and poll everywhere. I also have on my to do list to explore both datawrapper and amCharts over the holidays.

But…am returning to you all to ask if there is anything out there that just makes you do your happy dance in terms of new low-cost, no-cost tools for data visualization and/or reporting. (This is a genuine request–if there is something out there, let Susan know.  You can comment on the blog, contact her through AEA (, or let me know, I’ll forward it.

Susan also says in Saturday’s (December 15 , 2012) blog (and this would be very timely for WECT participants):

Enroll in the Free Knight Center’s Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization: The course is online, and free, and will be offered between January 12 and February 23. According to the course information, we’ll learn the basics of:

“How to analyze and critique infographics and visualizations in newspapers, books, TV, etc., and how to propose alternatives that would improve them.

How to plan for data-based storytelling through charts, maps, and diagrams.

How to design infographics and visualizations that are not just attractive but, above all, informative, deep, and accurate.

The rules of graphic design and of interaction design, applied to infographics and visualizations.

Optional: How to use Adobe Illustrator to create infographics.”


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