How To Transform Data Into Narrative : 4 Approaches
How To Transform Data Into Narrative : 4 Approaches : Anyone can whip up a story from events that may have happened in their lives or to other people. However, most people seem to hit a mental brick wall when it comes to telling a story with data.
Data is like unrefined gold: raw, dull, and pretty much uninteresting, since it is usually scraped by robots, before human analysis. It needs more detail and visualization to paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. As such, it is essential to include a compelling narrative when showing reports or analyzing data.
By telling an awe-inspiring data-driven story, you can then compel your audience to take specific actions or decisions.
Want to know more about data transformation and how to integrate storytelling into data analysis? Read on.
Pinpoint the questions that need to be answered
Just before you start churning out words and whipping up sentences, it’s essential to identify the questions that your story is aiming to address.
Why was the survey carried out in the first place? Who is your target audience? Answering these two questions will help you determine the problems that your story should address. It will also help you focus on the important figures, statistics and trends your analysis should contain.
For instance, if your target audience is made up of stakeholders, you will need to include information such as how leads were generated, the implications of certain occurrences and so on.
This way, your data analysis or report will be relevant to your readers.
Sift out the irrelevant data
If you’re trying to transform data, one key step to take is to sift out the irrelevant data first. Most novices tend to highlight data for all response options to a survey question, and even though this seems like a good idea at first, it only overwhelms your audience.
Determine which data points are most important and then discard the rest. For instance, it’s not advisable to make a statement like:
“40% of American millennials believe that eating takeout is a better option and 20% agree, while 25% disagree and 15% are undecided“.
Drawn out statements like this make your report sound too disjointed and tedious to read. Instead, you could keep it concise and straight to the point with statements like:
“60% of American millennials prefer takeout meals to homemade food“.
Highlighting only the important details will help to enhance clarity and cohesion.
Organise the data thematically
When it comes to data analysis and reporting, there are tons of resources explaining how to linearize data. This explains why most novice analysts make the mistake of giving a step-by-step report of responses instead of organising the data thematically.
During statistical transformations, you should lay out the central themes and questions of the survey, and then go on to organise your data in line with the themes.
Connect it to the real world
Almost every figure or statistic in your report should be connected to the real world. Don’t just write an entire report about figures. Instead, include the implications of those figures – what they mean and the impact they have on the world or on a certain group of people.
Pro Tip: When reporting data, try as much as possible to use the active voice. It makes your report sound more realistic and relatable. For instance, instead of saying:
“Speedy delivery was cited as a major determining factor by 80% of respondents“,
Say: “80% of the respondents state that speedy delivery is a major determinant in the decision making process”.
Why Is It Important to Turn Data Into Narrative?
In today’s world, data storytelling is fast becoming an essential tool for communicating data insights. This explains why many data analysts often hire an college essay writing service to help with data transformation.
But why is it so important? Here’s why:
Narrative makes data relatable and easier to understand
Remember the last report you had to sit through? Probably not. Presenting data in its raw form (charts, graphs etc) can make it difficult for anyone to fully grasp or understand. However, when the same data is presented in the form of a story, people will easily understand it without having to spend hours decoding and putting figures together.
In fact, studies have also shown that humans remember information better when it is presented in the form of a narrative or story.
Hastens decision making
Usually, most people spend more time trying to make a decision when they are faced with complicated data. On the other hand, when you fully understand what the data is saying, you can make decisions faster without having to second-guess or break down figures first.
Improves resource allocation
Time is a valuable resource that should never be wasted. When data is presented in the form of a story, people can spend less time trying to interpret data and focus on other important tasks. This way, goals will be met and exceeded faster.
Storytelling has the ability to bring even dead ideas to life. When we see data storytelling, we look at an interesting and inspiring visualization of data. More often than not, people tend to forget reports almost immediately because they contain raw data. By turning data into a narrative or story, it becomes more relatable, understandable and interesting.
Even though it’s important to harness the powers of storytelling when reporting data, be careful not to turn your report into an art project. Employ figures and statistics judiciously without overwhelming your readers.
How To Transform Data Into Narrative : 4 Approaches : Author Bio
Amanda Dudley is a writer who holds a Ph.D. in History. She graduated from Stanford University in 2001 and is currently lecturing on American and World history. In addition to her lecturing duties, Amanda works with students at EssayUSA, using her knowledge and skills to produce word-perfect papers and essays.