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Hands-On Approaches to
Data Storytelling
Rahul Bhargava
rahulb@mit.edu
@rahulbot
2017.07.28
Agenda
• [30] Intro & Collective Critique
• [30] Going from Data to Story
• [25] Stories you can Tell
• [10] Break
• [25] ...
Intro & Collective Critique
The Problem
Organizations working for the social good don't feel
empowered to tell stories with their data.
Barriers
confidence technology process
Using Data
Improving Operations
Use data inside your organization to assess operational efficiency and
measure impact.
Spr...
How are you using data?
Chat with someone you don’t know for 5
minutes.
I mean it, just 5 minutes.
No, seriously. I will s...
Opportunity
● Meet people where they are
● Make working with data fun
● Respect the "secondary" goals
Critique
take 10 mins to discuss in trios
1. What datasets are used?
2. How is data visually depicted?
3. What is the stor...
Abelson’s MAGIC Criteria
• Magnitude - size of the claim
• Articulation - how precise is your claim
• Generality - is it v...
From Data to Story
A Process
Asking
questions
brainstorming,
hypothesis forming,
audience and goals
Gathering
data
Scraping, collecting,
clea...
Asking Good Questions
wtfcsv.databasic.io
• 1 question to ask
• list of other datasets you'd need
• how you'd try to get t...
Stories You Can Tell
Story Archetypes
• Changes over Time
• Interesting Factoids
• Surprising Connections
•Personal Experiences
•Revealing Comp...
Data: Trees in Somerville
Changes
over Time
Interesting
Factoids
Just one hazelnut
tree in the whole
town!
wikipedia.org
Surprising Connections
Personal
Experiences
You live on that
street? All 9 spruce
trees in town are on
that street.
Revealing Comparisons
Break!
Finding and Telling Stories
Sketching Stories
wordcounter.databasic.io
• Pick a sample or two
• Find a quick story
• Sketch how you'd tell that story
Techniques You Can Use
The Usual Inspirations
Tableau Software
Visual Explanations, Edward Tufte
Gun Deaths, Periscopic
A Richer Set of Inspirations
History Quilt, Elizabeth Peabody, 1856
Prudential Ribbons Experiment, 2014
Food security data...
A Tool Belt of Techniques
• Personal Stories
• Traditional Charts
• Creative Charts
• Data Sculptures
•Traditional Maps
•C...
Personal
Stories
Traditional
Charts
Choose the Right Chart
Andrew Abela
Creative
Charts
Data
Sculptures
Traditional
Maps
NPR Visuals Team
Creative
Maps
Julien Bousac
Be the Data Prudential Ribbon Experiment
Wrap-Up
Barriers
confidence technology process
The Problem
Organizations working for the social good don't feel
empowered to tell stories with their data.
Resources
datatherapy.org
databasic.io
bit.ly/datacultureproject
Hands-On Approaches to
Data Storytelling
Rahul Bhargava
rahulb@mit.edu
@rahulbot
2017.07.28
Hands on Approaches to Data Storytelling
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Hands on Approaches to Data Storytelling

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You're hearing about data-driven storytelling everywhere. But how do you do it? How do you tell stories with data in creative ways to achieve some goals with the audiences you are speaking to? This session will introduce hands-on approaches to moving from data, to story, to a presentation of that story that convinces people. This is hard work, but we'll make it fun with a variety of hands-on approaches. Bring your background, your brain, your wisdom, and your creativity; together we'll improve our ability to tell compelling stories with data to drive change on the issues you care about.

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Hands on Approaches to Data Storytelling

  1. 1. Hands-On Approaches to Data Storytelling Rahul Bhargava rahulb@mit.edu @rahulbot 2017.07.28
  2. 2. Agenda • [30] Intro & Collective Critique • [30] Going from Data to Story • [25] Stories you can Tell • [10] Break • [25] Finding and Sketching Stories • [25] Techniques you can Use
  3. 3. Intro & Collective Critique
  4. 4. The Problem Organizations working for the social good don't feel empowered to tell stories with their data.
  5. 5. Barriers confidence technology process
  6. 6. Using Data Improving Operations Use data inside your organization to assess operational efficiency and measure impact. Spreading Your Message Use data in your marketing and outreach materials to communicate the impact of your work. Bringing People Together Use data to gather people from different sectors together and strengthen partnerships.
  7. 7. How are you using data? Chat with someone you don’t know for 5 minutes. I mean it, just 5 minutes. No, seriously. I will stop you with loud clapping.
  8. 8. Opportunity ● Meet people where they are ● Make working with data fun ● Respect the "secondary" goals
  9. 9. Critique take 10 mins to discuss in trios 1. What datasets are used? 2. How is data visually depicted? 3. What is the story? 4. Is it told well? The Global State of Agriculture by Lemon.ly for USAID, 2011
  10. 10. Abelson’s MAGIC Criteria • Magnitude - size of the claim • Articulation - how precise is your claim • Generality - is it valid in multiple contexts • Interestingness - can this change beliefs in a way that matters? • Credibility - do you believe it? Robert Abelson. 1995. Making Claims with Statistics. In Statistics as Principled Argument. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1–16. (PDF)
  11. 11. From Data to Story
  12. 12. A Process Asking questions brainstorming, hypothesis forming, audience and goals Gathering data Scraping, collecting, cleaning Finding a story Cleaning and analyzing Telling your story Picking a technique Trying it out Assessment
  13. 13. Asking Good Questions wtfcsv.databasic.io • 1 question to ask • list of other datasets you'd need • how you'd try to get those datasets
  14. 14. Stories You Can Tell
  15. 15. Story Archetypes • Changes over Time • Interesting Factoids • Surprising Connections •Personal Experiences •Revealing Comparisons
  16. 16. Data: Trees in Somerville
  17. 17. Changes over Time
  18. 18. Interesting Factoids Just one hazelnut tree in the whole town! wikipedia.org
  19. 19. Surprising Connections
  20. 20. Personal Experiences You live on that street? All 9 spruce trees in town are on that street.
  21. 21. Revealing Comparisons
  22. 22. Break!
  23. 23. Finding and Telling Stories
  24. 24. Sketching Stories wordcounter.databasic.io • Pick a sample or two • Find a quick story • Sketch how you'd tell that story
  25. 25. Techniques You Can Use
  26. 26. The Usual Inspirations Tableau Software Visual Explanations, Edward Tufte Gun Deaths, Periscopic
  27. 27. A Richer Set of Inspirations History Quilt, Elizabeth Peabody, 1856 Prudential Ribbons Experiment, 2014 Food security data on a cucumber, Rahul Bhargava, 2014 Black Cloud, WWF & Ogilvy, 2007
  28. 28. A Tool Belt of Techniques • Personal Stories • Traditional Charts • Creative Charts • Data Sculptures •Traditional Maps •Creative Maps •Be The Data
  29. 29. Personal Stories
  30. 30. Traditional Charts
  31. 31. Choose the Right Chart Andrew Abela
  32. 32. Creative Charts
  33. 33. Data Sculptures
  34. 34. Traditional Maps
  35. 35. NPR Visuals Team
  36. 36. Creative Maps Julien Bousac
  37. 37. Be the Data Prudential Ribbon Experiment
  38. 38. Wrap-Up
  39. 39. Barriers confidence technology process
  40. 40. The Problem Organizations working for the social good don't feel empowered to tell stories with their data.
  41. 41. Resources datatherapy.org databasic.io bit.ly/datacultureproject
  42. 42. Hands-On Approaches to Data Storytelling Rahul Bhargava rahulb@mit.edu @rahulbot 2017.07.28

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