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Visualise Data

What is data visualization?

Data visualization is the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. A well-designed figure can have a huge impact on the communication of research results. Data visualizations can include word clouds, bar charts, maps, or even simple tables. 

  • Visualizations reveal patterns in data. See Anscombe's Quartet as an example - the quartet consists of four datasets that have nearly identical statistical properties; however, when graphed in scatter plots, they reveal four distinct patterns.
  • They help us make comparisons. Bar charts, grouped bar charts, and histograms are good examples of visualizations that allow for easy comparisons. A well-crafted visualization will enable you to quickly compare one variable (or a set of variables) against another.
  • They enable us to discover new information. Data in its raw or even in its cleaned form makes it difficult or nearly impossible to discover new information, trends, or correlations.
  • They enable us to comprehend massive amounts of data. See the visualization of flight patterns in the US by Aaron Koblin, part of the Celestial Mechanics project at UCLA.