Making Data Make Sense:
Conveying the Stories That Your Data Tell
Jean Synodinos, DCH Communication Team (FHI 360)
Sarah Beistel, DCH Communication Team (FHI 360)
Transform Wisconsin Prevention Conference
September 12, 2013
DRAFT – For Review and Comment Only
DRAFT – For Review and Comment Only
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Session Objectives
• Explore how to connect our data to our stories
• Consider our audiences’ preferences when
choosing methods for conveying data
• Learn how social math can be used to clarify
data for many audiences—visually and
linguistically
• Demonstrate how infographics can help tell the
story inherent in data
The findings and conclusions in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent
the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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How Can Data Be Used?
• Gloom (things are bad)—Raise or Maintain
Awareness
• Control and Hope (solution for a problem)—
Predict
• Success—Evaluation
Nelson DE, Hesse BW, Kwon HT. Making data talk. Presented at the 2010 Joint Conference of SOPHE and Prevention Research Centers
Program. Available from http://www.sophe.org/Sophe/PDF/2010%20MY/Precon3.pdf
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Not Everyone Understands Health
Information
• Results from National Assessment of Adult
Literacy
• 12% of U.S. adults have proficient health literacy
levels
• Over 1/3 of U.S. adults have trouble with common
health tasks
• Any one can have limited health literacy skills—
regardless of education level
America's Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information.
An Issue Brief From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008. Available from
http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/issuebrief
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Not Everyone Understands
Numbers
• Health literacy skills ≠ numeracy skills (ability to
understand and use numbers)
• Half of population has problems with simple
numeric tasks
• People can retain 7 (±2) new pieces of
information at a time
• More data ≠ increase argument strength
White RO, Wolff K, Cavanaugh KL, Rothman R. Addressing Health Literacy and Numeracy to Improve Diabetes Education and Care. Diabetes
Spectr. 2010 October 2; 23(4): 238–243.
Nelson DE, Hesse BW, Kwon HT. Making data talk. Available from http://www.sophe.org/Sophe/PDF/2010%20MY/Precon3.pdf
Peters E, Hibbard J, Slovic P, Dieckmann N. Numeracy skill and the communication, comprehension, and use of risk-benefit information. Health
Aff (Millwood). 2007 May-Jun;26(3):741-8.
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Connecting our data
to the human story of
our work
Data
↔ Head
Stories ↔ Heart
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What Do You See?
J FKFB INAT OUP
SNA SAI RS
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Now, What Do You See?
JFK FBI NATO
UPS NASA IRS
Context makes all the difference.
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Percentage of Obese Adults in
U.S. (BMI ≥ 30) By Year
2001
2002
2003
21.1
22.2
22.8
2004
2005
23.2
24.4
2006
2006
2008
25.1
26.3
26.6
2009
27.2
2010
27.6
2011
27.8
Source:
http://wwwn.cdc.gov/sortablestats
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Data without
stories
(human context)
leaves
audiences
with an
abstraction
that does not
prompt them to
do something.
9
Stories without
data (credibility)
may leave
audiences
moved, but
without a sense
of direction.
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It’s All About Our Audiences
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Awardee and subawardee leadership teams
Community members at large
Community leaders
Health department staff/divisions
Health care providers
Other government agencies
Business
Faith community
Schools
Parents
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… And Meeting Their Needs
• What does the audience want/need to hear?
• Do we have it?
• Can we get it?
• What presentation(s) of the data will be
effective, e.g.:
• Linguistic (written, oral)
• Visual
• Social math (linguistic and/or visual)
Different audiences may need to see your data
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Comment Only
in different ways.
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Considerations For Conveying Data
Simple
Emotional
Informative
Data
Presentation
Personal
Familiar
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True
Concrete
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65%
of people are
visual learners,
in whole or in
part.
But the visual
must be
recognizable
and of meaning
to our
audiences.
Image from National
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Review and Comment Only
Science
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Multiple Ways to Represent Data
• The challenge:
• Encourage healthier snack choices at theater.
• Data report:
• A typical medium popcorn at the movies contains
60 grams of saturated fat.*
• USDA recommends no more than 20 grams/day
of saturated fat.**
* Center for Science in the Public Interest, Nov. 2009
** Dietary Guidelines for 2,000 calorie/day diet http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf
Would reading this data be likely to impact
healthier snack choices at the movies?
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Illustrating Data: One Way to Go
Grams of Fat
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Movie Theater Popcorn
2010 Dietary Guidelines for
Americans
Is seeing this table more likely to impact
consumption of healthier choices?
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300%
A typical
medium movie
theater
popcorn
has three
times the
recommended
daily
allowance of
fat!
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A typical medium popcorn at the movies “is
the same as six eggs with cheddar cheese,
four strips of bacon, and four sausage links.”
=
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Connecting with
Social Math
Data + Audience’s
Reality = WOW!
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“Community
residents near
a gasoline
refinery noted
that the plant
emits six tons
of pollutants
per day – or 25
balloons full of
toxic pollution
for each
school-aged
child in town.”
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Connecting With Social Math
Social math places data into a
real-world context that our
audience easily understands.
Social math helps audiences immediately
understand the “story” inherent in the data.
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In 1991, enough alcohol was consumed
by college students to fill 3,500
Olympic-size swimming pools.
The amount spent on alcohol exceeded dollars spent on
books. It was far greater than the combined amount of
fellowships and scholarships provided to students.
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Source: Sightline Institute “Social Math: Making Numbers Count”
http://daily.sightline.org/2007/12/04/flashcard-no-5-making-numbers-count
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The tobacco industry spends more
money promoting smoking in a
week than the Federal
government spends
on preventing
smoking in
a year.
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Source: Sightline Institute “Social Math: Making Numbers Count”
http://daily.sightline.org/2007/12/04/flashcard-no-5-making-numbers-count/ and
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/stateandcommunity/best_practices/
22
If you are 27 years old or
younger, you have never
lived through a month that
was colder than average.
DRAFT –
Source: Grist.org: http://grist.org/news/if-youre-27-or-younger-youve-never-experienced-a-colder-than-average-month/ based on NOAA’s State
of the Climate 2012: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2012/10
For Review and Comment Only
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How Social Math Works
• Makes an issue (e.g., obesity, tobacco use,
chronic disease) urgent and relevant to an
audience by comparing the issue numbers to:
• Dramatic events (e.g., the number of residents
displaced following Hurricane Katrina)
• Understandable costs (e.g., the program costs less
than a cup of coffee each day)
• Current numbers from other issues (e.g., it’s more
than one-third of what we spend on prescription
medication each year).
Find the context that works for your audiences.
Use language and/or images to convey.
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Guiding Questions To Help You
•
•
•
•
•
•
Who/what does it impact?
How much money does it represent?
How much time (lost/found) does it represent?
What resources does it use/save?
How big/long/wide/short/tall is it?
How might it be compared to a place or an
event?
Make it accurate, dramatic, and appropriate
for your audiences.
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Four Simple Steps
1. Identify the key data point to share with
your audience
2. Convert any percentages into numbers
3. Find your comparative data (again, use
numbers, not percentages)
4. Create your equation
The key to social math:
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Numbers…
not percentages!
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Example: Obesity in Wisconsin
• If… 36.7 percent of adults in Wisconsin are
overweight and 26.7 percent are obese (Source:
MMWR Surveill Summ. 2013 May 31; 62(1):1247)
• And… the total number of adults (over 18) in
Wisconsin is 4,409,326 (Source:
http://census.gov)
• Then… the total number of overweight and
obese Wisconsinites is 2,835,197.
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2.8 Million Adults
Would fill
Lambeau Field
to capacity 39
times—that’s
five years’
worth of Green
Bay Packer
home games!
Using your local data, what landmarks might
be relevant to your community?
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Example: Tobacco Use in
Wisconsin
• If… 19.1% of adults in Wisconsin are current
smokers… (Source: MMWR Surveill Summ.
2013 May 31; 62(1):1-247)
• And… the total number of adults (over 18) in
Wisconsin is 4,409,326 (Source:
http://census.gov)
• Then the total number of adult smokers is
842,181.
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The number of adult smokers is equivalent to
twenty times the enrollment at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison.
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The number of adult smokers is 16 times the
population
of LaOnlyCrosse, WI.
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Pull Out Your Smart Phone, Tablet, or Laptop!
Your Turn: Social Math
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Exercise: Social Math
For the purpose of learning this
skill, let us assume that 35.7
percent of residents in your city,
town, or county
are obese, and
these individuals
have $1,429
more in annual
medical costs.
http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
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Exercise: Social Math
• What do your audiences care about?
• Individual concerns
• Quality of life for themselves, for loved ones
• Health care costs (insurance, out of pocket)
• Community concerns
• Burden on health care system, other local resources
• Perception of community as a good place to live
• Business concerns
• Lost productivity
• Health care costs
• Bottom line
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Exercise: Social Math
• First, using your smart phone, tablet, or
laptop, find the population of your city,
town, or county. Possible sources:
• http://census.gov
• Wisconsin Department of Workforce
Development: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/oea
• County/city/town government Web sites
• http://google.com
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Exercise: Social Math
• Next, calculate the number that represents
35.7 percent (rate of obesity) of your local
population.
• Multiply that number by $1,429 to arrive at
estimated health care costs in your
community as a result of obesity.
Will your audiences care about one or both
of these numbers?
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Exercise: Social Math
• Now, research comparative data that will be
meaningful to your audience. Think back to
guiding questions:
•
•
•
•
•
Who/what does it impact?
How much money and/or time does it represent?
What resources does it use or save?
How big/long/wide/short/tall is it?
Can it be compared to a place or an event?
How can you state your equation?
How might you also visualize it?
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Infographics:
Accurate visual
representations
of information,
data, or
knowledge.
http://makinghealtheasier.org/newabnormal
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http://makinghealtheasier.org/burntolearn
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http://makinghealtheasier.org/getmoving
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http://www.phi.org/resources/?resource=prevention-means-business
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Create Infographics Online
Piktochart
http://piktochart.com
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Easel.ly
http://easel.ly
Infogr.am
http://infogr.am
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Infographic Best Practices
• Use graphic images that complement your data
• Tell a story by drawing the viewer/reader through
a beginning, middle, end
• Keep your infographic clear and avoid
extraneous information that does not directly
support your story
• Stick to three colors, limit font types
Sources: http://www.hhs.gov/digitalstrategy/people-first/power-infographics.html
and http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/14/the-dos-and-donts-of-infographic-design/
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National Council of
La Raza Infographic
• Created in Piktochart
• Refined over several
months
• Defines the issue
• Is audience-focused
• Includes social math
• Includes a clear next
step
Let’s look closer…
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Identifies audience,
introduces subject.
Data show how the
audience is
disproportionately
impacted.
Audience learns more
about the issue.
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Social math describes
the size of the
population impacted.
Data drive home the
importance of a pap
smear. Note how “8
out of 10” is less
abstract than “82
percent.”
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Matches the
audience value that
“life is precious”
The Final Pane
Offers a clear next
step
Addresses possible
barriers of cost
Provides more
information
Lists data sources
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Promote Your Infographic Online
Basic
Advanced
• Find a permanent home for it on your Web site or
blog
• “Tag” the image so search engines will find it (e.g.,
Latina pap smear infographic, Latina cervical cancer)
• Share on your social media—and ask others to share
• Share in an e-newsletter
• Create an HTML Embed Code so others can put it
on their Web sites *
• “Guest” blog about it on relevant blogs
• Submit to the many sites that publish infographics
* http://blog.hubspot.com/how-to-create-embed-codes-generator-infographic-content-ht
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The Message Framework
• The Message
Framework can help
you effectively
integrate data into
your messages.
• Specify the situation in
your community
• Illustrate the landscape
• Describe the solution
• Provide a clear next
step
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Questions?
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CDC Data Sources
• Sortable Stats: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/sortablestats/
• Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS):
http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/
• Youth Behavior Risk Surveillance System (YRBS):
http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm
• Social Determinants of Health Maps:
http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/maps/social_determinants_maps.ht
m
• Data Set Directory of Social Determinants of Health at the
Local Level:
http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/docs/data_set_directory.pdf
• Simply Put:
http://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/pdf/simply_put.pdf
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Other Data Sources
• U.S. Census: http://www.census.gov/
• U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
http://stat.bls.gov/oes/home.htm
• U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
• No Child Left Behind: http://nochildleftbehind.gov
• U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Policy and Research:
http://www.huduser.org/portal/
• Community Commons:
http://www.communitycommons.org/
Be sure to investigate publicly available state and
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municipal
data as well.
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Social Math Resources
• CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Adding
Power to Our Voices: A Framing Guide for Communicating About
Injury (27-33). http://www.cdc.gov/injury/CDCFramingGuide-a.pdf
• Center for Health Improvement
http://www.chipolicy.org/pdf/TA5.pdf
• Department of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut Health
Center
http://www.commed.uchc.edu/healthservices/mediaadvoc/sld001.htm
• Census Bureau Quick Facts
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/index.html
• FrameWorks Institute, Doing Social Math
http://www.frameworksinstitute.org/ezine39.html
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Infographics Resources
• Create online infographics:
• Piktochart: http://piktochart.com
• Easel.ly: http://easel.ly
• Infogr.am: http://infogr.am
• Inspiration:
• Information is Beautiful:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/
• Flowing Data: http://flowingdata.com/
• Daily Infographic: http://dailyinfographic.com/
• Visually: http://visual.ly
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Thank You!
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Effectively Communicating Data