The visualisation of data in a digital context

Ellis, David and Merdian, Hannah Lena (2018) The visualisation of data in a digital context. In: Doing Research In and On the Digital : Research Methods Across Fields of Inquiry. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-138-67391-5

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Science is often driven by data sets and a curiosity to explore them. While these investigations are typically guided by hypotheses, acting as a lens during exploration, good study design also allows researchers to create a story with their data (McCandless, 2009). The advent of digital research methods has led to the emergence of larger and multifaceted data sets, be it through the appearance of new platforms for established research methods (e.g., online social media) or the generation of mobile and cloud-based systems for data capture (e.g., smartphones); thus, transitioning from raw data to a story that can be shared with others has become increasingly complex, often requiring the simultaneous development of computational models alongside larger and constantly evolving data sets (McGrath, & Scanaill, 2013).
In psychology and the social sciences more broadly, two main issues have emerged as a consequence of increased digitalisation; (1) the ethics of social research, with regards to maintaining ethical research practices alongside secure data ownership, and (2) the approach to the collection, management and analysis of very large data sets. While the former remains a challenging (and complex) topic in itself, we have dedicated this chapter to the exploration of the latter, which can also be termed "scientific storytelling". We have argued previously that the digitalisation of psychological research requires a "digitalisation" of our approach to data analysis and data visualisation, which could provide new benefits for psychological research, including applied domains within clinical and forensic settings (Ellis & Merdian, 2015). This also provided examples of interactive data visualisation as a way to enhance the communication and teaching of basic and complex statistical functions (Lowe, 2003). Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to introduce interactive visual graphics as one response to the digitalisation of psychological research. We will consider current challenges and the development of new visualisations before discussing the future impact on psychology as a whole.

Additional Information:The final published version of this article can be accessed online at
Keywords:data analysis, visualisation of data, digital data analysis
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:32643
Deposited On:04 Sep 2018 14:54

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