Researchers in the humanities and social sciences increasingly visualize their data and results for non-academic audiences like policymakers, civil society organizations, or journalists. They may do this to foster public engagement, or to generate wider research ‘impact’. But not much is known about what makes an ‘effective’ visualization in the first place—or even if this is possible. Using findings from the Seeing Data project this talk explores socio-cultural factors that affect how people perceive visualizations in general. Then, it draws upon visualization practice and outputs from The Migration Observatory to highlight the ways that visualizations can develop public understanding as well as future research questions.
William L Allen is a Research Officer with the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS) and The Migration Observatory, both at the University of Oxford. His current research focuses on the interactions among British media and public perceptions about migration. He also has interests in visualisation, the politics of data, and how non-academic groups engage with migration statistics. He tweets from @williamlallen.
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