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How to Use Creative Data Visualization Techniques for Easy Comprehension of Qualitative Research

“A picture is worth a thousand words!”—an adage used so often stands true even whilst reporting your research data. Research studies with overwhelming data can perhaps be difficult to comprehend by some readers or can even be time-consuming. While presenting quantitative research data becomes easier with the help of graphs, pie charts, etc. researchers face an undeniable challenge whilst presenting qualitative research data. In this article, we will elaborate on effectively presenting qualitative research using data visualization techniques.

What is Data Visualization?

Data visualization is the process of converting textual information into graphical and illustrative representations. It is imperative to think beyond numbers to get a holistic and comprehensive understanding of research data. Hence, this technique is adopted to help presenters communicate relevant research data in a way that’s easy for the viewer to interpret and draw conclusions.

What Is the Importance of Data Visualization in Qualitative Research?

According to the form in which the data is collected and expressed, it is broadly divided into qualitative data and quantitative data. Quantitative data expresses the size or quantity of data in a countable integer. Unlike quantitative data, qualitative data cannot be expressed in continuous integer values; it refers to data values ​​described in the non-numeric form related to subjects, places, things, events, activities, or concepts.

What Are the Advantages of Good Data Visualization Techniques?

Excellent data visualization techniques have several benefits:

  1. Human eyes are often drawn to patterns and colors. Moreover, in this age of Big Data, visualization can be considered an asset to quickly and easily comprehend large amounts of data generated in a research study.
  2. Enables viewers to recognize emerging trends and accelerate their response time on the basis of what is seen and assimilated.
  3. Illustrations make it easier to identify correlated parameters.
  4. Allows the presenter to narrate a story whilst helping the viewer understand the data and draw conclusions from it.
  5. As humans can process visual images better than texts, data visualization techniques enable viewers to remember them for a longer time.

Different Types of Data Visualization Techniques in Qualitative Research

Here are several data visualization techniques for presenting qualitative data for better comprehension of research data.

1. Word Clouds

data visualization techniques

  • Word Clouds is a type of data visualization technique which helps in visualizing one-word descriptions.
  • It is a single image composing multiple words associated with a particular text or subject.
  • The size of each word indicates its importance or frequency in the data.
  • Wordle and Tagxedo are two majorly used tools to create word clouds.

2. Graphic Timelines

data visualization techniques

  • Graphic timelines are created to present regular text-based timelines with pictorial illustrations or diagrams, photos, and other images.
  • It visually displays a series of events in chronological order on a timescale.
  • Furthermore, showcasing timelines in a graphical manner makes it easier to understand critical milestones in a study.

3. Icons Beside Descriptions

data visualization techniques

  • Rather than writing long descriptive paragraphs, including resembling icons beside brief and concise points enable quick and easy comprehension.

4. Heat Map

data visualization techniques

  • Using a heat map as a data visualization technique better displays differences in data with color variations.
  • The intensity and frequency of data is well addressed with the help of these color codes.
  • However, a clear legend must be mentioned alongside the heat map to correctly interpret a heat map.
  • Additionally, it also helps identify trends in data.

5. Mind Map

data visualization techniques

  • A mind map helps explain concepts and ideas linked to a central idea.
  • Allows visual structuring of ideas without overwhelming the viewer with large amounts of text.
  • These can be used to present graphical abstracts

Do’s and Don’ts of Data Visualization Techniques

data visualization techniques

It perhaps is not easy to visualize qualitative data and make it recognizable and comprehensible to viewers at a glance. However, well-visualized qualitative data can be very useful in order to clearly convey the key points to readers and listeners in presentations.

Are you struggling with ways to display your qualitative data? Which data visualization techniques have you used before? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!


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