How to Create a Misleading Quadrant Analysis – by Accident

When we use analysis tools like Tableau software, it becomes very important to keep our bearings about the data we are investigating.  For example, we need to keep in mind that Tableau retrieves and calculates information based only on the data needed to generate the graph.  That statement sounds really, duh, obvious.   But we can […]

Understanding Customer Feedback: How Visualizations Quickly Guide Us to Useful Conclusions

Have you ever had the “pleasure” of slogging through hundreds of feedback forms from a seminar or conference?  Have you ever noticed how the mind seems to dwell on the negative comments, maybe even to the point that all the positives seem to loose their luster?  That’s when crunching actual survey numbers can help put […]

Expanding our Visual Vocabulary

Last week I wrote about the need to expand our visual vocabulary in line with software that allows us to graph complex data relationships and events in ever more meaningful ways.  Let me expand on this point with an example.

Just about any introductory statistics course covers the draft lottery of the Vietnam War era as […]

Visual Analytics: What’s The Big Deal?

During several conversations recently the following comment came up:  “What’s the big deal with visual analytics?  It’s just a bunch of pretty pictures!”  It took a while, but it finally dawned on me that we have reached the Xerox-GUI-Macintosh stage for data analysis.  The early versions of a graphical user interface (GUI) which were developed […]

Using Tableau to Picture Survey Data

For several years I have participated in the Heartland Association of Research Professionals (HARP), a non-profit organization that provides educational and networking opportunities for nearly 200 professionals engaged in clinical research and related fields.

Recently we surveyed current and prospective HARP members to gather feedback regarding the services we provide. This gave me a nice opportunity […]

Visual Analytics: The Danger of Distortion with Paired Bar Graphs

An illustration by visual analytics guru Stephen Few recently caught my eye because it seems to run counter to the excellent advice he usually provides.  In his 2004 book “Show Me the Numbers” he suggests the use of paired bar graphs as an alternative to scatter plots when the intended audience is unfamiliar with such […]

Visual Analytics: Breaching the New Frontier in Business Analysis

Ever since attending a data mining workshop in the late 1990’s I wondered how soon software would evolve to the point where someone could draw meaningful conclusions from data without needing a Ph.D. in statistics or extensive database and query tool experience.   It now appears that we have crossed the frontier into this new era […]

Tableau: Picturing Data on a Virtual Canvas

Recently I have been playing with the Personal edition of Tableau Software, and decided to add it to my suite of analytical tools.  Tableau, which sounds like [TAB – low],  is the French word for “picture” or “drawing” and the Tableau software does just that: it provides an easy way to explore data visually and […]

Death by Complexity? The Apparent Demise of Implantable Medical Chips

In October 2004 the FDA approved implantable RFID chips for the purpose of giving health care providers access to a patient’s medical information.  Public debates about patient privacy quickly followed and in 2007 the AMA updated its code of ethics to address the use of medical chips.

When news about possible links to cancer began to […]