Purpose

In other places in this book, we describe methods of acquiring data and analyzing it properly. In this section, we discuss communicating the results of that analysis and, in particular, visualizing information through graphics. In doing so, we address two problems:

• First, the world is awash in good analysis that is communicated poorly. Sometimes this is the result of poor communication skills (broadened here to include poor data visualization skills) or software with limited ability to present data visually.

• Second, and more frustrating, the news media is filled with analysis that is communicated in a way that exaggerates, distorts, confuses, hides, or simply invents data. In most cases, this communication orginates from individuals and organizations with enough resources to have done a better job.

We first address the latter issue, the principles of effective and ethical visualization of data.

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