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NEC Spotlight August 13th, 2022
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Using Qualitative Data to Create Visualizations

Posted by on May 24th, 2022 Posted in: Blog

Spring is reporting season, and NNLM RMLs, Offices, and Centers across the country are thinking about their accomplishments over the past year and how best to reflect them. We can make use of existing stores of data to add context and communicate impact beyond typical reporting workflows, such as the RPPR, by employing visualization into our dissemination strategy.

Quantitative data lends itself nicely to visualization, but qualitative data can too, if approached from the right perspective. Coding open-ended responses to things like training surveys enables visualizations of all types, from bar charts to heat maps. It also allows for network analysis and graphing, illustrating visually the different types of relationships possible between your coded qualitative data points. [1]

Stephanie Evergreen’s Qualitative Chart Chooser tool is one place to start when considering which visualization style will best represent your data. Another nice blog comes from Alana Pirrone. From a government perspective, take a look at this “Data Visualization Standards”. Finally, a great resource (and especially visually entertaining!) is this project mapping of “Data Viz books

Keep an eye out for news from the NEC on visualization trainings later this year.

  1. Pokorny, Jennifer J., et al. “Network analysis for the visualization and analysis of qualitative data.” Psychological methods 23.1 (2018): 169.

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