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The blog of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Evaluation Office

Archive for September, 2014

Qualitative Data Visualization

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Flowchart of text, text with illustrations, then illustrations leading to additional text

Have you thought that only quantitative information can be used for data visualizations, and qualitative data wasn’t an option without first coding or otherwise turning this valuable content into quantitative formats?

I learned about an innovative and compelling approach to creating qualitative data visualizations with illustrations from Fresh Spectrum . They begin the process (as shown in the illustration above) of taking a long narrative such as a focus group transcription, and chunking it into a few paragraphs per concept with a unique illustration for each one. In this case custom illustrations of people were used, but you could use your organization’s existing images or Creative Commons-licensed images for illustrating concepts. The next step for the visualization uses the images with brief captions as an online data dashboard, where visitors can click on the captioned image of interest to them to then access the more detailed narrative. The author describes how to do this within a WordPress portfolio blog template, or a simpler strategy of creating HTML anchor links to each individual section within a longer text. You can see how this works by clicking on an anchor link from the original post (http://freshspectrum.com/blogging-advice/#davidson for example) that leads to the longer narrative at http://freshspectrum.com/blogging-advice/ (a great source of advice for blogging by the way!)

Need more information about reporting and visualizing your data? We at the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) have more resources available for you from the Reporting and Visualizing tab of our Tools and Resources for Evaluation Guide and welcome your suggestions and comments about the guide.

Elegantly Simple Evaluation: Documenting Outcomes of a New England Health Literacy Project

Friday, September 19th, 2014

For an example of an elegantly simple program evaluation that yielded great results, check out an article by Michelle Eberle and colleagues in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine New England Region, which appeared in the August 2014 edition of MLA News . The article describes the region’s Clear: Conversations project, a collaboration among five organizations in which librarians and health professionals taught health literacy skills to patients. This innovative project, originated by Health Care Missouri, featured role-plays of patients in which they practice good patient communication skills during a visit to a health care provider (played by volunteers from various health professions).

This project shows that a few relatively simple evaluation activities can clearly show the positive outcomes of a project. For example, after their role-play, participants gave high ratings to their satisfaction with the information they received during their “doctor visit.”   When completing the multi-session program, a strong majority said the program improved their comfort with employing effective communication techniques with their own health care providers. More than half of respondents completing the second questionnaire described specific actions they intended to use in future visits to health care providers. Also, the health professional role-players provided their own feedback about how their experiences would affect their own interactions with patients.

The evaluation methods used for the Clear: Conversations project were fairly simple, but well-planned. Eberle and her colleagues developed their evaluation methods in the project planning stage and consulted with the NN/LM OERC on method design. As a result, the team was able to collect information that clearly demonstrated, both to themselves and others, the value of their project.

The OERC would like to highlight more examples of evaluations that are both effective and relatively easy to implement.  If you know of other projects that we can showcase in our Elegantly Simple Evaluation series, please contact Cindy Olney at olneyc@uw.edu.

Art of Analytics Tableau Keynote

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Data Analysis is a Creative Process

This week the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) enjoyed an intensive time of data information and learning with over 5,500 others during the Tableau Conference in Seattle.

Christian Chabot, Tableau’s CEO, provided the first part of a compelling keynote address of the conference that may seem surprising for a meeting about data: a focus on creativity. Chabot focused on innovation, noting the breakthroughs for technology to first empower user creativity with Adobe’s PostScript (the beginning of desktop publishing), and computer aided design (CAD) instead of relying on subject matter experts to produce the projects in a physical format from start to finish with limited options for revision. He concluded that the world from an artist’s perspective and data analysis perspective are not opposites but that both seek to reveal truth and impart meaning as a part of their work.

For the rest of the keynote Dr. Chris Stolte, Tableau’s Chief Development Officer, showed how in the past software tools required high levels of expertise to use. Dr. Stolte noted that they are trying to incorporate a greater sense of working in a user-friendly way with the data, not the software, to give users creative flow, feedback and flexibility and live demonstrated many new features Tableau has on the horizon.

You can see these demonstrations and learn more about these by watching the keynote recording or the overview Tableau wrote at http://www.tableausoftware.com/about/blog/2014/9/keynote-32970.

Freebie Friday: AEA’s Potent Presentation Information

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Logo with focus on message, design, and delivery

The American Evaluation Association (eval.org) sponsors a Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) that has a stated purpose of helping evaluators improve their presentation skills, both within a conference setting and as part of individual practice. P2i challenges evaluators to hone in on three concepts: Their message, their design, and their delivery.

There are a wealth of handouts available as PDF files,Word documents and Powerpoint presentations available from the p2i tools website (http://p2i.eval.org/index.php/p2i-tools/) that sometimes include AEA conference specifications in addition to many great messaging, designing and delivery principles. For an example of each principle be sure to check out the Presentation Preparation Checklist (from 3 months ahead of time to afterwards to include modifications while the information is freshly in mind), How to Design a Research Poster (great infographic visualization and instructions on how to make your data ‘pop’), and the Delivery Glue Handout (did you know as a general rule it takes 16 times the length of your talk to make presentation slides and a script?).

Last updated on Monday, June 27, 2016

Funded by the National Library of Medicine under Contract No. UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.