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Data visualization as a first step . . . and also an intermediate step and a last step

Michael Maltz wrote an excellent article on visualizing data in criminal justice. You can read the article yourself, but I just wanted to comment on something he writes on page 12 of his article: “Promote Data Visualization as a First Step.” I completely agree–and he has some good examples to make this point–but I’d also like to promote data visualization as an intermediate step (to check fit of model to data) and a last step (to summarize the inferences from a fitted model).


  1. Michael MacAskill says:

    A nice paper with plenty of good examples. I guess you know the author: if it hasn't already been published, you might want to point out to him that the axis labels suddenly change between Figure 10 and Figures 11-13. Victims become offenders, with the apparent result that a sizeable number of homicides are committed by toddlers. Other than the plot of The Omen, I'm not sure that represents what is really going on.

  2. NU says:

    This post has reminded me: a while ago a commenter on this blog posted a link to a (PDF scan of?) an older book or extended essay on data visualization, maybe 80 pages long. Its central theme was "Plot ALL the data" (not summaries). Can anyone tell me what this reference is? Thanks.

  3. Andrew Gelman says:

    NU: It's here. Enjoy.

  4. NU says:

    Andrew; Thanks!

  5. Mike Maltz says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for your kind comments, both here and in your email. And thanks, Michael MacAskill, for pointing out my error. It's to be a chapter in a handbook on quantitative criminology, to be published by Springer.