Tips and Tools for Visualizing Qualitative Data

The field of data visualization has yet to bring qualitative data visualization to the fore. This is unfortunate because there is so much qualitative data we need to understand better, and because qualitative data helps us understand certain things much better than quantitative data does. In this article I offer many tools and tips based on my experience working on many qualitative data visualization projects over the years.

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How Visuals Can Unlock Healing

As an unapologetic health and healing “nut,” I’ve developed many practices over the years. It’s taken me decades to realize that the best of all of them predates any investments I’ve made in yoga, psychotherapy, naturopathy, or body-based therapies. The most potent practice of all I started as a very young girl: using and creating visuals.

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The 6 major myths of visual aesthetics

If there’s one thing I’ve learned working with and conducting workshops for hundreds of people to help them create meaningful visuals, it’s that people have specific beliefs about visuals. Many of these ideas are not based in experience or evidence, but rather pervasive myths that take root at an early age and rarely go unchallenged. If I could give any stranger just one gift to help them on their journey, it might very well be this list of myths. I believe they are keeping us stuck in our work, our society, and even our humanity. 

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Creating visuals that inspire real-time conversation

Vision is the primary way we sense and experience our world - and we are social beings who process information with others. We can easily leverage these tendencies if we want to inspire specific conversations in specific moments. The conventional way of doing so is using presentation slides or videos to introduce or explain important topics. These emphasize what is important from the perspective of the presenter, they do not necessarily offer opportunities to capture what a larger group of people thinks or feels. Here’s how to easily design an opportunity for groups to have intentional conversations and create meaning collectively…

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Using data storytelling to disrupt white supremacy culture

To say that when I first saw the 13 characteristics of white supremacy culture it was a major lightbulb moment for me is putting it too lightly. Sure, it made me uncomfortable to look at where white supremacy runs rampant in my life, and it made me even more anxious to think about talking about that more publicly. But, as always, my values won out. I realized all the potential good that might come of sharing about how data storytelling in particular is arrested by these cultural norms and simultaneously is equipped to disrupt them . . .

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Choosing a Liberating Hope

As I think back on this year, one of the things that comes to mind is how many times I’ve heard people say “I’m finding it hard to stay hopeful.” Hearing this so much has led me to give some considerable thought to what keeps me hopeful. I feel like when I hear others talk about hope, they think of it as a result of external circumstance, like the news or something is supposed to make them hopeful or is the reason they are not. However, I think it’s strictly an internal attitude and experience…

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Transforming Conflict into Connection

I have observed over the years that there are three things that groups struggle with as they seek to work together: confusion, lack of contribution, and conflict. I have also observed that of these three, conflict seems to be the least understood and the least addressed. Since it also often plays a role in the other two, it definitely warrants deeper reflection and practice. In many ways, I’ve been a student of conflict my whole life and my relationship to it has been sorted to say the least…

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Redesign: What it really means

Our world is changing so fast, yet we seem to be stuck in old habits. Unfortunately our communication “defaults” often create more confusion. I use the process of design thinking, a cyclical process that is anchored in connecting with audiences and making clear decisions, to pivot quickly, both for myself and for those I serve. I’ve found communication and clarity are both processes that run in tandem with one another and have no end.

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3 ways to motivate and serve others

Living in America today most of us are blessed with both the remarkable ability to meet our many needs and the incredible gift of being able to choose how we do so. Yet with a plethora of sources of information, products, and services to choose from, it’s also never been more confusing. How do we choose to get our needs met? Study and experience have taught me that there are three basic motivations we have, three reasons we make the choices we do.

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