Data Visualization

  • Data Placemats

    From “Participatory Analysis: Expanding Stakeholder Involvement in Evaluation” (430KB .pdf), Innovation Network, Inc., 2011, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike license.

  • State of Evaluation 2012 detail

    Detail from Innovation Network's "State of Evaluation 2012" (2.6MB pdf), © 2012  Innovation Network, Inc., used with permission

  • Wordle: Evaluation Dataviz

    Word cloud, created with Wordle from the text of a draft of this post. "Evaluation", "data", "participatory", and "analysis" are some themes that become clear through Wordle's frequency processing.

  • Blog post
    Dataviz network map detail

    Network map detail from slides from "DataViz! Tips, Tools, and How-tos for Visualizing Your Data" (#14ntcdataviz)

    When you hear the phrase “program evaluation findings,” are you bored already? Most people—even within the evaluation field—perceive evaluation as dry. The major output of an evaluation is often a weighty report that gets read once (if at all) before it begins its long-term dust-collecting destiny. Adding some good data visualization to the mix can really wake people up.

  • Blog post
    The larger a country’s apparent size, the greater its need for more health workers to meet recommended levels

    The larger a country’s apparent size, the greater its need for more health workers to meet recommended levels.

    Source: Benjamin D. Henning, Views of the World

    World Health Worker Week 2014 is April 7-11. This is “a time to celebrate the amazing work that health workers do and raise awareness of the challenges that they face every day.” The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 23 health workers for every 10,000 people. The cartogram to the right illustrates the world’s health worker needs proportionally by country: The larger a country’s apparent size, the greater its need for more health workers to meet recommended levels. (Source)

    K4Health’s activities and products are all intended to strengthen health systems and benefit health workers—whether we are handing a community health worker a netbook loaded with health education materials, or maintaining a global repository of family planning knowledge and making it accessible to anyone at anytime, or helping a ministry of health figure out where the knowledge gaps are in their national system.

  • The larger a country’s apparent size, the greater its need for more health workers to meet recommended levels

    The larger a country’s apparent size, the greater its need for more health workers to meet recommended levels.

    Source: Benjamin D. Henning, Views of the World

  • Blog post
    Data Viz Hub:

    Data Viz Hub:

    1203: Number of pings on on the last day of Winter 2014 (20 March 2014)

    262: Number of new members as of the first day of Spring 2014 (21 March 2014)

    Infinity: Number of possible things you stand to learn by joining today!

    There has been a lot of interest lately around data visualization – the intrigue, the impact, and value added, followed quickly by ‘how do I do this!?!’ Programs are adeptly incorporating robust evaluations into their project cycles and then quickly realizing that identifying the best data story and effectively sharing the results isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. While we know that using graphs, charts, maps, tables, infographics, and other visualizations can improve how we communicate information to stakeholders and the larger development community, we’re always looking for the best way to do this!

  • Blog post

    On Friday, March 7, the Global Health Mini-University kicked off at George Washington University. Hosted by USAID’s Global Health Professional and Organizational Development Program, the daylong event brought together global health professionals and students for sharing technical knowledge and networking.

    Several K4Health staff attended, and shared these highlights. What did you learn? Tell us in the comments.

    Simone Parrish

    K4Health and WASH hosted "Cooking Up Knowledge Management: Recipes for Practitioners" at the 2014 Global Health Mini-University

    K4Health and WASH hosted "Cooking Up Knowledge Management: Recipes for Practitioners" at the 2014 Global Health Mini-University.

    A taste of our own cooking: As presenters, we felt well-prepared for the KM Kitchen session--hats, aprons, slides, handouts, the works. What we didn’t do was follow one of our own pieces of advice. At my “Before the Basics” knowledge café table, I covered usable design, readability, and basic content curation concepts. I encouraged people to avoid jargon wherever possible; using language your audience understands is critical to effective knowledge-sharing. So it might have been helpful if we had opened our session with some definitions of knowledge management. Lesson learned!

  • Blog post

    Last week the Knowledge Brokers’ Forum listserv included a post by Maya Indira Ganesh about a new book called Visualising Information for Advocacy written by Tactical Technology Collective. Tactical Tech is an international NGO based in Germany and India; its mission is:

    To advance the skills, tools and techniques of rights advocates, empowering them to use information and communications to help marginalised communities understand and effect progressive social, environmental and political change.

    The book is available for free for non-profits in exchange for promotion through an event, blog post or book review. I made the request for the book and eagerly dove into it when it arrived, and began to think about ways to repay Tactical Tech. I took notes as I usually do when tasked with an assignment but soon realized a traditional text-based promotion of the book would not do it justice. Instead I wanted to visually represent how the lessons in the book would be useful to the K4Health Blog’s audience. One of the key ingredients would have to be the telling of a story.

    In a recent K4Health post on data visualization, Erica Nybro and Libby Skolnik discuss the importance of developing a narrative.

    If our informal working group had one shared conclusion, it was this: data visualization relies, first and foremost, on identifying your story and understanding your audience. Putting a spreadsheet of data into Excel and pushing the “bar chart” icon does not tell a story. It is not enough to send a report full of tables to a graphic designer and expect a meaningful infographic to emerge. It is our job, as health researchers and communicators, to first examine our data, and identify the surprises, the patterns, or trends.

    Visualising Information for Advocacy supports this conclusion and provides examples of effective campaigns and the steps to build your own. While I am not setting out to foster large scale social change, I am trying to raise your awareness about the book. I bounced ideas off co-workers and thought about how to visually convey the book’s message to you. As I experimented, I wasn’t sold on the usefulness of a visual representation and thought about abandoning the idea. I went so far as to think that it would be quicker and easier to end this post with a message that a visual representation wasn’t right for this message, or that I tried and failed. In the end, I took advice from the book and came up with the cartoon below.

  • Blog post

    Data visualization is everywhere these days – infographics are going viral, websites are interactive and peppered with maps and dynamic charts, and information is being shared in ways never imagined. But is data visualization really new? A group of health researchers and communicators from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and MEASURE Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) have partnered up to take stock of our current data visualization activities and explore opportunities to use new techniques and technologies to better tell our stories.

    Data Visualization Word Cloud

    A word cloud of data visualization definitions.

    Our first question was how to define data visualization. Although we came up with a dozen different definitions, common themes emerged: data visualization as a means of telling a story, presenting complex ideas in a simple way, engaging the audience, making data actionable and shareable, and creating an impact. We agreed that these are common objectives among the many CCP projects and the DHS, so how do we take advantage of the range of data visualization techniques to best tell our stories?

    Data visualization has been around for centuries. Maps, charts, and drawings have capitalized on human visual perception to tell stories. The 21st century offers many more options including infographics, interactive websites and apps, games, social media, photography, indicator dashboards, and videos. Are these methods effective? Do they resonate with our audiences? What skills are needed to create quality data visualizations?