About Dana Griffin

Dr. Dana Griffin is a consumer insights and decision-making expert based in Seattle. An award-winning researcher and data educator, she earned her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota with concentrations in research methodology and psychology. With extensive experience in both qualitative and quantitative methods, Dana served as the Director of Survey Research at one of the largest newspapers in Minnesota. Prior to joining the private sector as a research and analytics specialist, she was a faculty member at Furman University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Data Visualization Lesson 6: The Ultimate List of Dos and Don’ts

Pie Charts

As part of this Research Access lesson series, we’ve explored best practices in the art and science of data visualization.  Here, I round out that discussion with the ultimate list of dos and don’ts: Dos: Start with purpose.  Before you select a data visualization tool, take a moment to put in words what you hope to show [...]

Data Visualization Lesson 5: Ninth Grade Algebra Wasn’t Worthless After All

Algebra

There are many things of which teenagers are “sure”: that they will never be like their parents; that the greatest artist of all time is (insert name of band of the moment); that pretty much any clothing is appropriate to wear in public (I’m talking to you, leggings-as-pants). Thankfully, with age comes wisdom. It would [...]

Data Visualization Lesson 4: The Best Pies Are Desserts

Coconut Cream Pie

Staring bleary-eyed at a spreadsheet of data and a report that still needs visual content, have you ever felt a bit underwhelmed at the prospect of using a simple graphic? Sure, a bar graph or histogram or line chart would show the data… but sometimes they seem, um… well… a little boring? It’s easy to [...]

Data Visualization Lesson 3: Abela’s Rubric

rubric

Kudos to cartographers, glory to graphic illustrators, and applause to artists of the digital kind:  I give thanks and praise that I don’t have to draw original data graphics by hand.  (I might be the only person in America who can manage to draw a crooked bar graph using both a ruler and a level). [...]

Data Visualization Lesson 2: Think of Grandma

Grandma

As the old composition adage goes, if it doesn’t make sense to the reader, it’s usually the author’s fault. The same applies to data visualization. Much like written or spoken communication, visuals invite the audience to extrapolate information, draw inferences, and make judgments or decisions. If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, it [...]

Data Visualization Lesson 1: Examine the Y-Axis

Alphabet - Antique Block Letters, Isolated on White. Letter Y.

Editor’s Note: Today I am pleased to introduce you to a new regular contributor to Research Access, Dr. Dana Griffin.  Dr. Griffin will be starting off by doing a series of lessons on data visualization, beginning with today’s entry.  It is incredibly easy to draw erroneous conclusions from data that is presented visually. Nowhere has this [...]