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 In Data Analysis Concepts Simplified, Data Storytelling, How To

As much as I hate to say it, summer is over. And as students and teachers alike gear up for another school year, we thought it might make sense to kick off our return to blogging with something educational as well. So we’re kicking off a new blog series on telling stories with data.

One of Datassist’s most popular — and frequently requested — offerings is our workshop data storytelling. We don’t just work with data scientists, computer scientists, and graphic designers. We also work with all kinds of storytellers: playwrights, screenwriters, theatre designers, and video game developers. These people are experts at what they do. They make the communication of difficult and complex concepts work for people. And we want to help them tell stories with data effectively.

Over the coming weeks, this blog will feature seven posts on the different aspects of telling stories with data, all based on the workshops so many of you have participated in and enjoyed.


Data Storytelling is Challenging

Good data storytelling combines a deep understanding of data and statistics, data visualization, human cognition, and what makes people happy and attentive.

Telling data stories that make a difference to the people you need to reach can be challenging. It’s a complicated process because there are several critical factors at play:

  • Data must be correct
  • Statistical analysis must be robust
  • Visualization and other communication methods must achieve several goals:
    • Attract attention
    • Build trust
    • Tell a good story

It’s harder than many people think to achieve all these goals simultaneously. But that’s what telling data stories is about. And daunting as it may be, it’s worth the investment. The huge amount of data flowing through every business, organization, and home right now means people who can tell good data stories are bound to succeed.


Seven Steps for Effectively Telling Data Stories

Over the coming weeks, we’ll dive into greater detail about how you can improve your ability to tell data stories. Each of the next seven posts will cover one of the basic steps involved in effective data storytelling:

  • Identifying the basic story elements in your research (What is interesting about your data? What do you need readers to understand? What would you like them to understand?)


  • The seven types of data story (Are you telling a story of change over time? Drilling down into details? Zooming out to show readers the big picture?
  • The nine types of narrative (What kind of narrative will best communicate your story and resonate with your readers?)
  • Three ways of appealing to your audience (Telling effective data stories depends on reaching people through emotion, reason, or their sense of community.)
  • How to communicate uncertainty (No data story is every 100% bulletproof. How will you communicate that uncertainty to your audience?)
  • Telling your story visually (Many audiences respond better to images and visual stories.)
  • Combining all the elements of your data story (How to put everything you’ve learned together to tell a great data story)


We’ll publish new posts on telling data stories in an effective, engaging way twice a month, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have specific questions about how to tell your organization’s data story in a way that reaches your audience, the experts at Datassist are always here to help. Drop us a line to discuss what we can do for you. 

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