Data visualization is a way of presenting data in a visual context. Not only can data visualization be used to communicate a large amount of information clearly and concisely, it can help you gain insight into things you would have otherwise been blind to had you only examined the raw data. Because data comes in many forms and is gathered in virtually all disciplines – from population statistics in the U.S. Census, to text analysis of Shakespeare’s work, to video recordings of a dance performance – data visualization can also take on various formats. Charts, graphs, timelines, tables, and box-and-whisker-plots are just some of the more recognizable ways to visualize data, but there are many more options out there for you to choose from.

Through the Research Commons, students, faculty, and staff can get assistance with:

  • Determining the best format to present your data based on research question, data type, audience, and medium
  • Creating static, dynamic and interactive visualizations and infographics
  • Identifying appropriate data visualization software for your research project
  • Training for a variety of data visualization tools, including free and open source options, OSU-licensed resources; and other special software such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Tableau, Gephi, Cytoscape and more
  • Meet the Expert:
    Sarah Murphy is the data literacy and visualization librarian and a professor at The Ohio State University Libraries. Murphy helps individuals and teams communicate effectively using various analytics and visualization tools. She is a passionate about Tableau and shares her expertise with students and researchers across the university. Murphy offers data visualization workshops, consultations and training through the Research Commons. If you have an idea for a project or a project already underway that you would like to discuss, email Sarah ( to schedule a consultation appointment.