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Data Science: Data Visualisation

This guide will help Data Science students find information they can use for their studies

What is data visualisation?


Data visualisation is a means of taking data from a spreadsheet or database and making it easy to read, interpret and understand by turning that data into images, graphs and diagrams. 

By visualising data we can shape it into narratives, or stories.

Who is your audience?


Before beginning your visualisation, consider who your intended audience is. This will guide your design process, so you should only include visual elements which align to that audience.

You could be making a visualisation for:

  • Academics in your discipline
  • Research Professionals
  • Industry Professionals
  • The Public

For example, visualisations for a public audience you would keep simple and clear, whereas as visualisations aimed at an academic audience may include technical language or concepts aligned to that field.

Types of data visualisations


Different types of visualisations. (Image courtesy of Michelle Borkin, Harvard SEAS.)

Different types of Data Visualisations. (Image: Michelle Borkin, Harvard SEAS)

Data visualisations come in all forms and sizes, and depending on your audience and how creative you want to get, there are many options. Below are links to websites covering the various types of data visualisations.

How to make data visualisations

Free data visualisation software


Good v Bad Visualisations