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Data Introduction: Beginner Data Visualization

Getting started to manage, find, share, understand ethics, create, and cite data.

Purpose of Data Visualization

Use data visualizations to:

  • Effectively communicate your research 
  • Add value to your presentations
  • Increase the impact on your audience
  • Aid audience understanding by shaping the story
  • Increase your information capital to gain a competitive edge
  • Synthesize your raw data to find relationships to analyze

Start with Analysis

Data analysis tools available at NU and open sources

SPSS Statistics offers a set of statistical tools to run descriptive statistics, regression, advanced statistics and to create publication-ready charts, tables and decision trees. NVIVO provides qualitative or mixed methods data analysis. The list of datasets or resources that provide an API from US San Diego.

Ready Made Visualization Websites

Always check the source of the data that is used for the visualization. Is the data from a reliable source?

Image of the Statista logo Nation Master Visual Complexity
Use Statista to embed infographics and graphs to your next presentation. Search datasets for your research.  With Nation Master embed maps, data, infographics, and graphs. Lots of data tables available that can be used to also make your own visualizations.  Use Visual Complexity, an open source sharing platform where anyone can find and use the visualizations.

Flowing Data ArcGIS Google Public Data
Explore FlowingData to find how others have used data for analysis and visualization.  ArcGIS has made available some maps made by users and organizations. See how others are using this tool to map data. Google Public Data is an online public dataset directory and tool to publish and visualize large datasets.

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Other Visualization Tools

image: timeline js logo Image: Storify Image: Prezi logo

TimelineJS takes a Google sheet to build interactive timelines.

With Storify you can curate your own social media and images to tell a story.  Prezi is a presentation tool to display information by panning and zooming.

Tableau Desktop is a business intelligence and data visualization tool 

Power BI is a business analytics solution that lets bring data to life with live dashboards and reports. Anaconda is an open-source distribution of the Python and R programming languages for scientific computing (data science, machine learning applications, large-scale data processing, predictive analytics, etc.)

Voyant Tools is a web-based platform in analyzing text through a number of visualization methods. 

OpenRefine is a powerful open source, free tool for working on messy data.  The R Project for Statistical Computing is a free statistical software for computing and graphics. 

Design your own Visualizations Online

Canva Venngage Easel
Design presentations, social media graphics,and more with thousands of beautiful layouts with Canva. Easy to use Use Venngage to access hundreds of Charts, Maps, and Icons for your Infographics. Find  community-generated inforgraphics Create your own designs or search for what other users have created with Easel. Many templates are available to get you started.


Infogram is an easy to use infographic, chart, map maker. It offers an editor that converts users’ data into infographics that can be published, embedded or shared. Piktochart is is a web-based infographic application that allows users without intensive experience as graphic designers to easily create infographics and visuals using themed templates  
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