Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Good Charts and Data Visualization

Good Charts by Scott Berinato is published by Harvard Business Review Press so it understandably uses examples relating to the corporate world (power outages, customer complaints and revenue, for example). However, it is written in such an accessible way that our students will definitely benefit from many of its suggestions on how to best present and read graphs.  Berinato “speaks” to the reader and asks numerous questions and shows many charts (both good and bad), encouraging interaction with them and the data they display. Sections with titles like “When A Chart Hits Our Eyes” or “Getting into Their Minds: Storytelling” further encourages the reader to think critically about the reasons for sharing data and how to best do so, often needing to follow Berinato’s mantra to “deconstruct and reconstruct.” I look forward to sharing Good Charts by Scott Berinato with Social Studies, Business and even Art teachers and classes.  If you would like to see more right now, read Berinato's "Visualizations that Really Work" online from the June 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Visual Literacy is an area that we are increasingly exploring in the library profession.  This 2015 Knowledge Quest article, for example, explores the possible connections with Math, Science and English Language Arts and this Edutopia post from 2014 offers several strategy suggestions. More recently, Journalist’s Resource has published an article, “Getting Started with Data Visualization,” that we have recommended to our newspaper classes along with several database (Statista) and open sources (Pew Research Center) on this Classlinks page.   If you have other ideas to suggest, please let us know. 

I will leave you with a chance to reflect upon a couple of charts; one leads to Berinato's article and the other (click to enlarge) from the Knowledge Quest article illustrates commonalities amongst disciplines -- where the library can often be a leverage point:

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