I want to share some information about a really interesting research project I'm fortunate to be working on with a small research team from the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds and The Migration Observatory. The study is titled 'Seeing Data' and is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Having commenced in January of this year the project runs through to March 2015.

I've briefly mentioned it over the past few weeks but with the project's website seeingdata.org and blog having been launched in the past couple of days it is a good time to profile it on here because the focus of the study should be of interest to anyone visiting this site.


So much of the discussion about data visualisation is dominated by new projects, new techniques and tools - and understandably so, in many ways we are still in the golden period of experimentation and discovery.

The aim of 'Seeing Data' is to understand how people make sense of data visualisations, specifically 'big data' visualisations relating to subjects of great depth and rich breadth. Through learning about the ways in which people engage with data visualisations we intend to provide some key resources for the general public, to help them develop the skills they need to interact with visualisations, and also for visualisation designers/producers, to help them understand what matters to the people who view and engage with their visualisations.

One of the key strands of our research activity will be the running of focus groups where we will be conducting assessments about people's experiences with an array of different visualisation work: different in format, function, tone and subject matter. We are thrilled to be collaborating with our partner studio - Clever Franke - who are helping us to create new visualisation assets for use in this process and beyond.

It is not a long-running, big-team, multi-million pound programme of work but we feel it will be an important stepping stone to learning more about this fascinating subject area. You can find more details about the project via our new website, which includes more information about the aims, intended outputs and how you can get involved in our research. You can follow updates about the project via Twitter (@seeing_data), Facebook and our blog where we aim to publish weekly articles about the study and the subject of visualisation literacy.

If you have any questions or contributions to make to the discussion about visualisation literacy, feel free to get in touch!

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