Business statistics – Lab 2 Guide: Visualizing Data

Lab 2 Guide: Visualizing Data

This week’s lab is designed to give you an introduction to visualizing data in creative and intellectually rewarding ways.

Complete the following steps for this week’s lab.

1. Read Intro Essay for TED Studies Statistics: Visualizing Data.

2. Watch Modules 1-6.

a. These TEDTalks are pretty cool examples of creative uses of data.

3. Read Putting It Together: Summary Essay

a. Complete activities 1, 2, 3, and 6.

b. Respond to the activity questions in your lab report. Make your responses brief but clear. Use the Lab 2 Report Template.

2-Watch Modules 1-6.

The beauty of data visualization – David McCandless

Deb Roy: The birth of a word

3-Read Putting It Together: Summary Essay

a. b- Respond to the activity questions in your lab report. Make your responses brief but clear. Use the Lab 2 Report Template.

Lab 2 Report Template

Use the following template to complete your lab report. Before turning the report in, delete unnecessary information, such as these directions and examples, and save the report with a file name using the following convention: Your Last Name_Lab 2 Report (Ex: Petrak_Lab 2 Report).

Each section of the report should start on a new page (as in this template).

Putting it Together Activity Responses

1. The Happy Planet Index

Watch Nic Marks’s TEDTalk “The Happy Planet Index”. Marks argues that when we measure only economic indicators such as GDP, we are focusing on the wrong things.

a. What does Marks think we should be measuring?

b. How are these things related?

c. How does he use data visualization to make his point?

d. In his main graph, what should we be focusing on for the countries shown in the bottom left?

e. What should we be focusing on for the countries in the top right?

f. Consider Marks alongside Hans Rosling (Module 1 speaker in this lab), comparing the messages they share about the relative well-being of the world’s nations and the data visualization tools they use to make their points.

2. NOAA video on CO2 levels in the atmosphere

Watch this NOAA video on CO2 levels in the atmosphere. This powerful visual representation of data starts out only showing a small piece of the full graph.

a. Why do you think the designers created it this way?

b. Can you think of other ways the designers might have displayed this data?

c. How might Nathalie Miebach have represented this scientific data? (Nathalie Miebach is the author of the Module 4 talk, which is not required watching for this lab. A simple search about her is enough to give you a good idea of how she would conceptualize a representation of data.

3. Exploring Climate and Development Links” from the World Bank

“Exploring Climate and Development Links” from the World Bank shows excellent visualization of predicted temperature and precipitation changes over the next century under different scenarios. Look at projected temperature changes and projected precipitation changes under both scenarios. Be sure to scroll around on the map to find your own region.

a. Why do you think the designers chose the colors that they did?

b. Do you find the colors effective?

c. When you click on the map, an overlaid graph appears.

d. What does this graph show?

6. Movie Narrative Charts from xkcd.com

The web comic xkcd.com includes movie narrative charts that illustrate character interactions over space and time. These include charts for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the original Star Wars trilogy, Jurassic Park, 12 Angry Men, and Primer.

a. What do you think about presenting the information this way?

b. Explain why the charts for the last two movies 12 Angry Men and Primer are not as interesting as the first two. (You might have to look up a summary of each movie if you’re not familiar with one or both.)

c. Name another movie (or series) for which you think this method would be interesting and effective. Explain your choice.

a. If you can’t think of a movie that would be an interesting illustration of this method, then give an example of a movie (or series) that is especially poorly suited to this method and explain your choice.

d. This space/time illustration for movies might remind you of the visualization method used by Deb Roy. How are they similar?