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The Power of Data in the Stories We Tell

  Program | Speakers | Sponsors | Planning Committee  

Session Information

Every stage of the research enterprise relies on the effective collection, analysis, and presentation of data. Framing needs, developing problem statements and hypotheses, writing grant proposals, tracking outcomes, publishing results — data, data, and more data.

Along the way, there are policies to promote a basic level of research ethics. And where ethics leave off, there are training modules, mentoring, and oversight to keep folks honest.

Inadvertent statistical errors sometimes happen (as does outright fraud, which can lead to the most fearsome kind of storytelling, through depositions and exposés in the higher ed press).

But what about genuinely well-meaning efforts to blend black and white research data with high-impact storytelling? That’s more of a grey area, and it’s growing, as more audiences become more used to the idea of data-based decision-making.

This session will examine the power of data as a storytelling tool — to create engaging presentations, competitive grant proposals, compelling articles on research outcomes — for better and for worse. Participants will discuss examples of the power of data in storytelling; consider the responsibility that comes with efforts to translate data for non-specialist audiences; and examine how data can be used both to inspire and to manipulate.



Meg Cantwell








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