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    How to Visualize Qualitative Data with Colored Phrases

    Updated on: Apr 13th, 2021
    Data Visualization
    , , ,

    Wondering how to visualize your qualitative data? Maybe you’ve got open-ended survey responses, focus group notes, or speech transcripts. Qualitative data visualization can bring our words and phrases to life.

    My friend Jon Schwabish from PolicyViz asked me to partner on his One Chart at a Time project, in which we’re helping you get better-acquainted with common and not-so-common chart types.

    I created a tutorial on using colored phrases to visualize qualitative data. In this tutorial, you’ll learn:

    • The first time I ever used colored phrases to visualize qualitative data;
    • My favorite examples of colored phrases; and
    • Practical tips for using colored phrases in your project.

    Watch the Tutorial

    The First Time I Used Colored Phrases in Data Visualization

    In the first part of the video, you’ll see the first time I used colored phrases.

    I was coding open-ended survey data during my Master’s thesis, and needed to visualize different themes that I was finding in the data.

    Inside good ol’ Word, I added colored rectangles around key phrases.

    The outcome wasn’t perfect, but it was better than regular text.

    My Favorite Examples of Colored Phrases

    In the second part of the video, you’ll see my favorite examples of colored phrases:

    In the second part of the video, you’ll see my favorite examples of colored phrases.

    Practical Tips for Using Colored Phrases

    In the final section of the video, you’ll learn practical tips for using colored phrases to visualize qualitative data.

    We’ll go through seven options:

    1. Regular text
    2. Bold
    3. Italic
    4. Underline
    5. Color
    6. Outline
    7. Fill

    You’ll learn the pros and cons of each approach, and see why I suggest using bold, colored, or filled text instead of the other options.

    In the final section of the video, you’ll learn practical tips for using colored phrases to visualize qualitative data. You’ll learn the pros and cons of each approach, and see why I suggest using bold, colored, or filled text instead of the other options.

    Your Turn

    Let me know when you’ve applied colored phrases to your own project!

    More about Ann K. Emery
    Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.

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