5 Simple Rules for Presenting Your Data

A more lengthy post is forthcoming on our Welsh invasion! But for now, it's Mellon School meets Buzzfeed, minus the animated GIFs. Information is beautiful, except when it's not. Even when it is beautiful, it's probably grossly misleading. In Tuesday's "Theater as a Field of Cultural Production," we came up with five simple rules for presenting your data:

1)    TED Talks suck (or at least tend to oversimplify and manipulate).

2)    So do PowerPoint presentations (or so says visual data guru Edward Tufte).

3)    If you must use a PowerPoint presentation: don’t put up an image if you’re not going to talk about it, and don’t put text on the screen that you don’t want people to read.

4)    Don't assume causality from correlation.

5)    Learn to code, but have a statistician verify your work.

5 simple rules
Case in point (from Schlemmer's The Theatre of the Bauhaus)

Tools you can use to make your own information beautiful include (in approximate order of difficulty):

- Pen and paper

- Microsoft Excel

- Google Charts

- R Project

- Data Driven Documents



See also: Matthew Franks