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Presentation, communication and dissemination of vital statistics

Visualisation of data

If you have a large dataset and want to show it in a presentation, the best and only way is to use visualisation – for example, a map, or charts and diagrams of different types. Indeed, in exploring your dataset visually you may find patterns you would never have seen previously. Charts and maps are extremely useful ways of communicating big datasets and much easier for readers to understand. This assumes that the presentations are produced correctly and are well presented. Complicated figures or maps often fail to communicate the message and may mislead or confuse people, particularly those not experienced in reading visualisation material.

Even basic visualisation software now has scores of chart types to choose from, making it easy to select the type that is most suitable for presenting your data and getting the message across to your target audience. Although it is exciting to have such a large range of graphical options available, it is important to remember that technology is just a means to an end. What counts is that the message in the data is clearly understood without lengthy explanations. Be creative – but always aim for simplicity in your design of graphics. An example of such software is Tableau which is used by WHO for monitoring various R&D activities. 

A bubble diagram is an innovate way of presenting complex data which enables you to communicate actual numbers in and interesting and easily understood way (this is particularly relevant for data for which there are no denominators available. 

Visualisation with numbers in a bubble diagram


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