Using Data Visualization to Effectively Communicate Research Results

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Effective data visualization is important for communicating research and evaluation outcomes. Workshop participants will learn about best practices in data visualization and how to apply them to a range of data. In hands-on activities, participants will examine current data visualizations from online education research and apply what they have learned.


Mary Ellen Dello Stritto is the assistant director of the Ecampus Research Unit at Oregon State University and is involved with the design and implementation of research studies on online/distance education. She manages and oversees statistical analyses for the research unit. Dello Stritto also directs the Research Fellows Program for faculty. She has a background in psychology with a specialization in quantitative methodologies, survey design, and statistical analysis.

Extended Abstract

As the data landscape is beginning to expand, effective data visualization is becoming a key competency for researchers and others wishing to communicate value and results to key stakeholders. However, many individuals are not trained in data visualization best practices. In this session, the facilitator will share experiences from a self-study of data visualization and how it has been applied to a range of projects within their unit. The workshop will include the following lessons:

  1. Data visualization as storytelling
  2. Shaping data visualization for different audiences
  3. How to choose the right chart or graph to fit your data
  4. The importance of color
  5. The role of font choice
  6. The impact of institutional branding on data visualizations
  7. Embedding accessibility into data visualizations
  8. Repurposing data visualizations
  9. Learning from data visualizations "in the wild" and
  10. How to approach a self-study of data visualization

Throughout the session, the facilitator will share a range of before-and-after examples of data visualizations. In hands-on activities, participants will examine current data visualizations from contemporary research reports from the field of online education. They will be asked to apply what they have learned about effective data visualization. Participants will leave the session with a set of resources for their own professional development as well as a practical data visualization roadmap that they can apply to a specific project.

Participants who attend this session will be able to:
1. Identify effective and ineffective data visualizations
2. Identify data visualization best practices
3. Be able to apply a data visualization roadmap to their own projects