Reading #7

Data Visualization in Sociology

By Kieran Healy and James Moody

Visualizing data is central to social scientific work. Despite a promising early beginning, sociology has lagged in the use of visual tools. We review the history and current state of visualization in sociology. Using examples throughout, we discuss recent developments in ways of seeing raw data and presenting the results of statistical modeling. We make a general distinction between those methods and tools designed to help explore data sets and those designed to help present results to others. We argue that recent advances should be seen as part of a broader shift toward easier sharing of code and data both between researchers and with wider publics, and we encourage practitioners and publishers to work toward a higher and more consistent standard for the graphical display of sociological insights.

PDF available here

Data Visualization In Sociology

Jonathan Melendez Davidson - 04.24.17

  1. Due to the complexity of Sociology is it good to utilize Data visualization? Based on the previous reading of the Dots, how can we avoid expressing complex issues in society with the common mistakes that occur in data visualization of avoiding the micro scale, the individual affected?

  2. The idea brought up of utilizing Visualization as a working tool rather than a superfluous tool to mislead audiences “We do not think visualization will give us the right answer simply by looking. Rather, we should think about how visualization might be more effectively integrated into all stages of our work.” Is something I think about constantly. I do believe in sharing data but if the idea of a visualization becomes to express some sort of bias then it obscures the purity of the data. Should data visualization become more of an internal process rather than an external product? Visualization for exploration rather than for presentation.

  3. I am a bit perplexed after reading this entry, I’m still confused by the assumption that the audience of the data will be mostly experts in X or Y field where these journals are being published. I believe in open data and the ability to make that accessible, but if we are relying on the idea that only those which are experts in our field can understand the data clearly then what is the point?