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1211.0.55.001 - Research Paper: Data Visualisation, Jul 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/07/2007  First Issue
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DATA VISUALISATION AND STATISTICAL STORIES


DATA VISUALISATION AND STATISTICAL STORIES

A pivotal concept behind the introduction of data visualisation is the aim to produce statistical stories. "A statistical story is one that doesn't just recite data in words. It tells a story about the data" (UNECE, 2006). Statistical data is only useful or relevant if knowledge or stories are gained or interpreted from it. An audience is more likely to learn an idea within a story rather than remember the actual data. By visually displaying data there are many more opportunities for this to occur. Statistical stories should grab a user's attention, invoke thought, be informative and ideally be entertaining.


The primary objective of any statistical story should be to inform its audience and be newsworthy. It must use the statistics available to provide substance and stimulate interest. It should seek to delve through the large pool of data and only surface those details which will be useful and pertinent to the needs of the user. Once this data has been uncovered the next step must be to ensure that the presentation of the story is in a format that is understandable and easy to use. All statistical stories have a target audience and it is critical that their needs are considered.


Data visualisation invokes many new elements compared to common written statistical story techniques. With the media and graphical options available, data visualisation has a great advantage in being able to attract the attention of users and encourage statistical literacy.


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