In a recent issue of New Directions for Evaluation (139 – Autumn 2013), there’s a fantastic series on data viz. In one of the lead articles by viz gurus Susan Kistler & Stephanie Evergreen, they write about data viz and evaluation:
At the core of our profession is the need to communicate complex
ideas to an array of stakeholders who may vary in their level of
knowledge, interest, and familiarity with the evaluation and methods
of measuring it. Data visualization offers us the ability to view data in different ways and gives us a better chance of detecting obscured patterns and connections. If designed in an appropriate way, visualizations also enable us
to communicate with a myriad of stakeholders and engage them in a process
of learning and discussion that can bring meaning and relevance to the
data. In essence, many concepts discussed in the chapters are applicable to
almost any evaluation conducted because they require evaluators to deeply
understand data while pushing them to consider the underlying knowledge
that can be extracted from a data set and how to best share that knowledge with others.
So well said & very much worth sharing. If you have access to the journal through work or school, I’d highly advise you read their article and the others in the series in full!