Saturday, May 11, 2013

Data Visualization

The group at just released information on a new data visualization of hate oriented twitter comments. The Geography of Hate is one example of data visualization becoming quite common.  You can find the specifics of how this project came together on their website.

Data visualization is engaging, but often generates as many questions as answers. My own efforts in this area highlight both the possibilities and limitations of mapping data. Mapping does not mean your analysis is done. Having created the map, determining it meaning becomes an ongoing project. The benefit is that mapping create insights that might be missed without the mapping.

This snapshot from the website stimulates my own thinking about the digital divide, regional views on race, and data collection methodology.  Whatever the questions, I think the spatial turn ( a term coined by my colleague Robert Vander Poppen) generates engagement in a way static tables or text alone cannot. In my experience, students engage with material in a different way when mapping it and trying to understand the implications.  In my mind, it is the synergy between visualization and qualitative analysis that becomes the key to success in these projects.

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