3 Data Visualization

Visualizations are used to display a large amount of data in the quickest, most interpretable manner. Unfortunately, it’s common to see visualizations that succeed in displaying a lot of information but fail to do so in a manner that makes for accurate interpretation (Sinar, 2018). There are two core purposes to visualizing data:

  • To help ourselves as researchers and practitioners understand our data and see what would otherwise remain hidden in a matrix of columns and rows (Tay, et. al., 2017)
  • To bridge the gap between general research findings and specific organizational applications that managers and leaders can relate to (Markham, 2010).

Before proceeding: A few general visualization best practices that have been well covered in other sources are assumed to be understood by the reader. They are: 1.) Use the title of the visualization to draw attention to the main take-away (Sinar, 2018). 2.) Avoid the use of legends or keys when possible to limit the amount of back-and-forth eye movement. Instead, label data groupings directly on the visualization. 3.) Display related groupings by their value in descending or ascending order.