Visualising data

Data visualisations are an essential way to communicate your results, whether in a journal article, blog, Twitter post, or other outlet. There are many data visualisation tools available online. The resources in this section focus on data visualisation in statistical software and other programs commonly used by researchers.


Resources for effective data visualization


  • Color Brewer: An online tool for identifying color schemes for maps and visualisations, including color blind safe schemes.
  • From data to viz: An online tool to help users choose an appropriate visualisation method for their data, including examples created using R.
  • Introduction to Data Visualization: A comprehensive guide to data visualisation created by Duke University, including definitions, types, tools, and tutorials.
  • The 10 Commandments for Figures: A guide to creating high quality regression tables written by Dr. Keith Head.
  • Visualising data: A collection of resources for data visualisation, including programming visualisations, web-based visualisation tools, qualitative tools, mapping tools, and colour schemes.


Resources for using data visualization programmes


  • Excel
  • Python
  • R
    • Beautiful plotting in R: A guide to using the ggplot2 package in R for creating elegant graphics.
    • Comprehensive Guide to Data Visualization in R: A guide to basic and advanced data visualisation techniques in R.
    • RStudio Cheatsheets related to data visualisation: This website contains a set of quick references on different topics in RStudio. The Data Visualization Cheatsheet focuses on how to use the ggplot2 package in R and is translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. Also look for the cheat sheet on the vtree package that explains how to visualise hierarchical subsets of data with variable trees.
    • R Bootcamp: This set of R tutorials includes a tutorial on data visualisation.
    • The R Graph Gallery: A collection of charts, maps, and diagrams with reproducible R code, mostly made using the tidyverse and ggplot2. This website also includes tools to help users learn to use base R, ggplot2, interactive charts, and R markdown.
  • Stata
    • Stata YouTube channel: The StataYouTube channel includes hundreds of videos on data visualisation in Stata. Each short video addresses a specific topic, such as scatterplots, bar graphs, and many more. 
  • Tableau


Online data visualization tools


Many organizations and research groups have built online tools to create data visualisations from existing datasets. Some online data visualisation tools that may be of interest to ANH researchers include:


  • DHS Program STATcompiler: A online tool that allows users to create visualisations using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). 
  • Flourish: This online tool and app helps users create complex data visualisations. Their free plan includes many useful visualisation functions. 
  • Food Systems Dashboard: An online tool that displays over 150 indicators related to food systems from multiple data sources. Researchers and policymakers identify and visualise relevant indicators and download the related data. 
  • IHME Viz Hub: A set of data visualisations created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) using data from their projects and publications.


Examples of effective data visualization


Looking at how other people – including researchers, policymakers, journalists, and more – have visualised data to communicate their results and messages can help you to think of how to communicate your own work. Here are some examples of data visualisations from a variety of sources:



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