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3 Tips for Visualizing Demographic Data

Pie charts on a laptop screen

For civic sector leaders like those produced by the public administration programs at the Tulane School of Professional Advancement, presenting survey data in an engaging way requires a tactful and inclusive approach. As you develop a slideshow template, use these three tips to create approachable data visualization.

Follow the One-Page Limit for Background Information

If you aren't mathematically inclined, it's tempting to elaborate as much as possible in the first slides to make sure that the points that matter most are articulated well. Limit yourself to a one-pager or single slide to communicate the summary or background information for a clear, polished opening that isn't thwarted by long-winded paragraphs.

Substitute Bullet Points

Great presenters don't read bulleted lists from a slideshow—and it's likely that most of your audience won't be excited about it, either. If your presentation is strewn with bullets throughout (or you know that you're usually compelled to do so), start by cutting down the bullet points and replacing them with two- or three-column visuals that organize the information in a more appealing format that will demonstrate a clean, easy-to-follow flow of information.

Choose the Right Data Visualization Format

You have a myriad of data visualization formats to choose from and using the right one can make the difference between capturing key points or losing people to the less important details. Here's a breakdown of several graph types and appropriate use cases:

- Use scatterplots to help you depict a relationship between two distinct variables, point out potential correlations, and rule out outliers.

- Pie charts should be used to demonstrate the proportional distribution of items within a single category.

- Show numerical trends over a continuous time interval with line plots, which can also be applied to compare multiple values, like household income increasing as people age.

- Bar graphs can help you quickly compare values at a glance, such as renters versus homeowners in a given ZIP code.

Uncover Significant Insights About Your Community

Turning demographic data into actionable policy can be one of the most rewarding aspects of working in the public sector. Start your journey serving your community with a degree or graduate certificate in public administration from the Tulane School of Professional Advancement. Our 100% online Master of Public Administration and certificates are designed to prepare you to tackle critical community issues and help you enter this expansive professional landscape. Request more information to learn how we can help you pursue a career you're passionate about on your schedule.

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