Week 2: Visual Displays of Data

Imagine you are walking into a cave and traveling further and further inward, where no light can reach the inner most spaces. Suddenly, light illuminates your path and you begin to see a series of rooms, natural springs, and a variety of cave paintings on the walls and ceilings. As you observe the paintings, you realize the story told by people from years past, depicting a way of life through a visual display of images.

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Even long ago, visual displays were used to communicate thoughts and ideas to others. Sometimes, just as in the visual displays on cave walls, pictures are the best way to tell a “story” where narrative words may not be sufficient. It still remains true today that “graphics are one of the most important aspects of data analysis because they allow us to visualize the data and the patterns in the data” (Dietz & Kalof, 2009, p. 66). Such is the case in statistics, where displaying data is critical.

In this week, you will examine the different ways to display data and understand why visually presenting data can illustrate the “story” of the data. You also will begin to create your own visual displays of data to further your knowledge and skill set.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

• Evaluate the different ways to display data
• Create visual displays of data
• Analyze data from datasets

Photo Credit: [Comstock]/[Stockbyte]/Getty Images

Learning Resources

Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2015). Social statistics for a diverse society (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

• Chapter 3, “Graphic Presentation” (pp. 65–95)

Wagner, W. E. (2016). Using IBM® SPSS® statistics for research methods and social science statistics (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

• Chapter 5, “Charts and Graphs”

Wagner, W. E. (2016). Using IBM® SPSS® statistics for research methods and social science statistics (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

• Chapter 11, “Editing Output”

Walden University Writing Center. (n.d.). General guidance on data displays. Retrieved from http://waldenwritingcenter.blogspot.com/2013/02/general-guidance-on-data-displays.html

Use this website to guide you as you provide appropriate APA formatting and citations for data displays.

Datasets

Document: Data Set 2014 General Social Survey (dataset file)

Use this dataset to complete this week’s Discussion.

Note: You will need the SPSS software to open this dataset.

Document: Data Set Afrobarometer (dataset file)

Use this dataset to complete this week’s Assignment.

Note: You will need the SPSS software to open this dataset.

Document: High School Longitudinal Study 2009 Dataset (dataset file)

Use this dataset to complete this week’s Assignment.

Note: You will need the SPSS software to open this dataset.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016j). Visual displays of data [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 9 minutes.

In this media program, Dr. Matt Jones discusses frequency distributions. Focus on how his explanation might support your analysis in this week’s Assignment.

Optional Resources

• Skill Builder: Visual Displays for Continuous Variables

To access these Skill Builders, navigate back to your Blackboard Course Home page, and locate “Skill Builders” in the left navigation pane. From there, click on the relevant Skill Builder link for this week.

You are encouraged to click through these and all Skill Builders to gain additional practice with these concepts. Doing so will bolster your knowledge of the concepts you’re learning this week and throughout the course.

Discussion: Displaying Data

Visual displays of data provide you and anyone else with a graphical display of what is often a complex array of quantitative data. A key strength of visualization is the ability to quickly enlighten you with key data. Rather than solely relying on your audience to interpret numerical values and statistics explained in a narrative, a visual display can easily illustrate descriptions, relationships, and trends. Although the focus is on simplicity, the researcher has an obligation to present these graphical displays in a clear and meaningful way.

For this Discussion, you will explore ways to appropriately display data.

To prepare for this Discussion:

• Review the Learning Resources for this week related to frequency distributions and graphic displays of data.
• Using the SPSS software, open the General Social Survey dataset found in this week’s Learning Resources.
• Next, create a figure or table from a few selected variables within the dataset.
• Finally, think about what is good about how the data are displayed in the figure or table you created and what is not so good.

By Day 3

Post your display of the table or figure you created and provide an explanation of why this would be the best way to display the data provided.

Be sure to support your Main Post and Response Post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA Style.

By Day 5

Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ post and determine whether you are able to understand the “whole picture” of the data or understand the data in its entirety. What might you add to their display and why? What might you change to their display and why?

Week 2 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 2 Discussion

Assignment: Introduction to Quantitative Analysis: Visually Displaying Data Results

In this week’s Discussion, you determined the benefits of visually displaying your data. You also learned that different types of data require different visual displays to adequately “tell the story” of the phenomena. Although the Discussion was difficult, what is even more difficult and challenging will be deciding on how best to display the data for presentation purposes. As you move further along in your dissertation or doctoral study, you will find that displaying data will be critical component in presenting a robust and clear capstone project.

For this Introduction to Quantitative Analysis Assignment, you will explore how to visually display data for optimal use.

To prepare for this Assignment:

• Review this week’s Learning Resources and consider visual displays of data.
• For additional support, review the Skill Builder: Unit of Analysis and the Skill Builder: Levels of Measurement, which you can find by navigating back to your Blackboard Course Home Page. From there, locate the Skill Builder link in the left navigation pane.
• Using the SPSS software, open the Afrobarometer dataset or the High School Longitudinal Study dataset (whichever you choose) found in this week’s Learning Resources.
• From the dataset you chose, choose one categorical and one continuous variable and perform the appropriate visual display for each variable.
• Once you visually display each variable, review Chapter 11 of the Wagner text to understand how to copy and paste your output into your Word document.

For this Assignment:

Write a 2- to 3-paragraph analysis of your results and include a copy and paste of the appropriate visual display of the data into your document.

Based on the results of your data, provide a brief explanation of what the implications for social change might be.

Use appropriate APA format. Refer to the APA manual for appropriate citation.

By Day 7

Submit this Introduction to Quantitative Analysis: Visually Displaying Data Results Assignment.

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

• Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
• Click the Week 2 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
• Click the Week 2 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
• Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK4Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
• If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
• Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.

Week 2 Assignment Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:

Submit your Week 2 Assignment draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7

Week 2 Assignment

Making Connections

This week, you examined the different ways to visually display data and explained why a way you selected would be the best way.

Next week, you will explore data results and how it can determine implications for social change.

To go to the next week:

Week 3