Evaluation 2016: Evaluation + Design

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The Design and Visual Display of Qualitative Data and Information

Session Number: 1990
Track: Qualitative Methods
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Stephanie Evergreen [Consultant - Evergreen Data]
Discussant: Stephanie Evergreen [Consultant - Evergreen Data]
Presenter 1: Stuart Henderson [Associate Director, Evaluation - University of California, Davis]
Presenter 2: Jennifer R. Lyons [Associate - Evergreen Data]
Presenter 3: Mary Emery [South Dakota State University]
Presenter 4: Sara Vaca [Independent consultant - ImpactReady.org]
Time: Oct 29, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Room: Atrium Ballroom C

Abstract 1 Title: Designing and Representing Qualitative Data: Context and Considerations
Presentation Abstract 1:

In this presentation, I will briefly discuss the recent history of ways that qualitative data and information have been represented, from matrices and models to some more recent trends. I will also outline some considerations for evaluators who are designing qualitative visuals (for example, summarized information/themes vs. open text; display vs. analysis or reporting, and static vs. interactive visuals).


Abstract 2 Title: Exemplars in Qualitative Data Visualization: Highlighting Best Practices
Presentation Abstract 2:

Qualitative data is an essential method used by evaluators, yet there is limited guidance on the use of available visualization techniques. Qualitative data provides context and depth to the why of our evaluation questions. It is important that we present the results in ways that can be easily interpreted by clients. How can we visualize a person’s story or show complex themes in a concise, appealing way? This is the question I will explore by presenting current exemplars of qualitative visualization. A range of visualizations will be discussed, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses related to evaluation reporting.


Abstract 3 Title: Ripple Effect Mapping: A Strategy for Unpacking Complex Change Processes
Presentation Abstract 3:

Ripple Effect Mapping (REM) is becoming a common evaluation tool. In recent years, over 1,500 people have participated in trainings or presentations related to Ripple Mapping. As an addition to the qualitative methods tool box, it offers a mechanism to uncover unknown linkages among activities, organizations, and people, and it creates new knowledge about how these activities, events and linkages contribute to additional activities, events and changes. Ripple Mapping does more than collect data; it engages respondents in meaning-making in relation to system changes. Perhaps the most notable aspect of REM is its use of mind mapping to visually depict the chain of effects and any resulting program impacts. While data visualization has become a hot topic among evaluators, the appealing graphics usually are presented to stakeholders after the evaluation is over. Mind mapping allows participants to create data visualization during the data collection process.


Abstract 4 Title: Visual Reporting and Thinking: Visualizing Evaluation-Specific Qualitative Information
Presentation Abstract 4:

Qualitative methods are used to collect rich, detailed information about many different aspects of an evaluation. Once the data is analyzed, the output usually consists of information or knowledge which is presented in evaluation reports relying on written language. This talk will present different ways of representing qualitative processed information with special attention to qualitative dashboards, theories of change, etc., as well as some ideas for presenting raw data itself. Approaches to think about your qualitative data to create some of these visuals (visual thinking) and differences between data, information and knowledge and how to represent them will also be covered.


Audience Level: Beginner

Session Abstract: 

As the theme for the 2016 AEA conference suggests, design of information is an essential element of evaluation. In this panel, we specifically explore the design of qualitative data or information, examining a variety of ways to visualize qualitative data throughout the evaluation lifecycle. While visualizing qualitative or textual data is not new, in the past two decades there has been significant development in this area. The panelists in this session will explore both the recent history of visualizing qualitative data as well as its future. Topics will include considerations for visualizing qualitative data, exemplars in qualitative data visualization, a participatory approach to qualitative visualization and strategies for thinking about and developing qualitative visualizations. The panel will close with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges for evaluators who want to visually represent textual or qualitative data or information.  



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