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Research Guides

Undergraduate Guide to Using Data: Data Visualization

Introduction to using data for undergraduate students.

Data visualization is the process of translating the raw data into visual information that effectively shares the findings of your research with your audience. Data visualization can also make it easier to absorb large quantities of data, and to identify trends, outliers, and groups! With some basic design principles and best practices in mind, data visualization can be made easy. 

Design Principles

A popular design theory utilized in data visualization is Gestalt’s Principles of Design. Gestalt Principles: How Are Your Designs Perceived? for a deeper explanation of this design theory. 

In addition, view Design Principles for Data Visualization for more information. 

Think critically when creating and being presented with data visualizations. How to Spot Visualization Lies is an article that can help you recognize what separates good visualization from bad. Remember: “A chart doesn’t make something true” (Yau, 2017)!

Types of Data Visualization and Best Uses

Designing a clear visualization of your data requires understanding the types of data visualization models and what types of data relationships they best visualize. When you know the types of data visualizations and their uses available to you, you can select the model that conveys the insights you intend to share with your audience.