Statistical Graphics and Data Visualization

J-Term 2021 – Stat041: Topics in Applied Statistics

Welcome to DataViz!

This is the course website for Stat041: Statistical Graphics and Data Visualization at Swarthmore College. All readings, slides, videos, and labs will be posted here.

Course Description

Graphical displays of information can improve our understanding of both data and statistical models. Data Visualization has become a key component in decision-making about everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to sports analytics to climate change. While these visualizations can help synthesize complex phenomena into a single graph, we have also been inundated with maps, charts, and diagrams that often present conflicting conclusions. Drawing heavily from contemporary examples including the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 election results, this course will cover common forms of data visualization and their uses and misuses.

In this course, you will learn how to create, critique, and present graphics in a concise and statistically sound way. Topics include: common data types and visualizations in R; incorporating statistical concepts such as transformations, smoothing, and uncertainty into visualizations; interactive graphics; and non-traditional types of data such as time series, maps, networks, or text.

You will leave the course having built a portfolio of static and interactive visualizations, statistical writing, and presentations. This is a project-based course, and you are encouraged to bring additional ideas for datasets and research questions.


Week 1: The Basics
Prep Lecture Lab Project Milestone
Mon Overview + Meet the Toolkit Read: Truthful Art Ch2 01 01
Tues The Grammar of Graphics Read: Data Viz Ch 3 02 02
Wed Mapmaking Read: Truthful Art Ch10 03 03
Thur Customized Design Watch: Glamour of Graphics 04 04
Sun Project 1 Due Final Project Milestone: Topic + Data
Week 2: Incorporating Models
Mon Linear Models Skim: ModernDive 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2 05 05
Tues Non-linear Models Read: Truthful Art Ch9 06 06
Wed Classification Read: MDSR 10-10.3 07 07
Thur Time Read: Truthful Art Ch8 08 08
Sun Project 2 Due Final Project Milestone: EDA
Week 3: Dynamic Graphics
Tues Intro to Dynamic Graphics Watch: The Shadow Peace; Read: Let’s free congress; Explore: Twitter USA App; Explore: Utah’s COVID Dashboard 09 09
Wed Interactivity Watch: Intro to Shiny 10 10
Thur Animation Watch: gganimate live cookbook 11 11
Fri Scrollytelling 12 No Lab
Sun Project 3 Due Final Project Milestone: Rough Draft
Week 4: Misc Topics
Mon Text Read: MDSR Ch 19.1; Skim 19.2 13 12
Tues Sharing your work Watch: One R Markdown, Fourteen Demos; Bring: 3 .Rmd files 14 No Lab
Thur Final Project Demos
Sun Final Project Papers Due