The Research Office

OU’s Soundings Series returns Oct. 30

Dr. Amanda Nichols Hess, Professor Shawn McCann will discuss importance of visualizing data

icon of a calendarOctober 16, 2019

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OU’s Soundings Series returns Oct. 30
Shawn McCann & Amanda Nichols Hess
Professor Shawn McCann and Dr. Amanda Nichols Hess

Oakland University’s popular Soundings Series will return on Wednesday, Oct. 30 with a special presentation by OU Libraries’ Dr. Amanda Nichols Hess and Professor  Shawn McCann on visualizing data for community audiences.

“Data visualization is fast becoming an important and expected way to communicate findings to wider audiences,” said Dr. David Stone, OU’s chief research officer. “Providing these skills to our faculty is essential for helping them be more effective communicators of their research to the general public.”

In this “Nuts and Bolts” session, which will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in the Nyberg Room at the Kresge Library, participants will learn how to present their qualitative and quantitative data to appeal to a wider audience.

“Data can be really dense, but there are broader conclusions that are useful for all — if we can present it as such,” said Hess, the interim associate dean of University Libraries and liaison librarian to the School of Education and Human Services.

During the workshop, McCann and Hess will draw on their own experiences working with data and in leading focused learning experiences for their library colleagues.

“As we have worked to hone our own data literacy knowledge, it’s important that we share what we’ve learned with our faculty colleagues,” Hess said. “Not only can these skills help students learn, but being cognizant of how we present our data — and what bad data visualizations look like — can help our research have broader impacts.”

McCann and Hess will also share tools for finding existing, external data to bolster your work.

“We’ll begin with strategies to clean up our data, especially numbers-based information, so that it is ready for import into various tools,” said McCann, an assistant professor with Kresge Library and a business and informatics librarian. “From there, we’ll talk about simple techniques that can help us visualize important findings, and people will have time to experiment with their own data.”

Participants in the Oct. 30 Soundings Series are encouraged to bring examples of their data to work with, as well as a laptop. Light refreshments will be served.

To RSVP, visit Soundings Series: Visualizing Data for Community Audiences. For more information, contact Leanne DeVreugd at

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