Visualizing Statistics

Create tables and charts that communicate with clarity

Visualizing Statistics is a one-day course that shows NHS information analysts how to draw charts that illustrate the results of statistical analysis. The course is all about the use of graphical techniques to communicate concepts visually. If—instead—you are looking for a course that concentrates on understanding the statistical method and calculations, you should try Demystifying Statistics.

Visualizing Statistics will suit information and performance analysts who want to learn how to use graphical techniques in Excel to communicate basic statistical concepts.

You need a basic grasp of Microsoft Excel in order to be able to complete the course exercises.

Session 1 / Visualizing distributions
The first session of the course deals with different ways of showing the full range of data rather than trying to summarize it by quoting an average, a count or a total. We start by showing you how to create a 'perfect' Normal curve in Excel, then we take an anonymized NHS dataset and create visualizations based on the number of emergency hospital admissions per day. We look at different ways of drawing histograms (including taking a "population pyramid" approach) and boxplots. After combining histograms and percentiles together, we then we go onto looking at the number of bed days being generated by these admissions and draw cumulative frequency polygons to illustrate Glenday Sieve-type arguments.

Session 2 / Visualizing time-series data
The second session of the course focuses first on ways of putting trends under the microscope by breaking them down into their quantiles. We also look in this session at ways of adapting Kaplan-Meier survival curves to show trend data. In addition, we experiment with various other visualization techniques that describe elapsed time.

Session 3 / Visualizing Margins of Error
In the third session we explain how to draw caterpillar charts and funnel plots and discuss the key differences between them as ways of understanding variation.

Session 4 / Visualizing Relationships
The final session of the course covers scatterplots with single and multiple data series, scatterplot matrices and bubble plots.

The course teaches the visualizations against the backdrop of the specific theme of emergency hospital admissions and bed occupancy, so that the relevance of the techniques can be more easily grasped. Every teaching example and exercise uses NHS data that has been used in real situations to shed light on real problems. This is not a course about statistical graphics for their own sake; it is about using visualization to make sense of today's NHS issues.

If you want to book a place at an open course, please first check the course calendar for available dates and prices, and then email to book a place. If you can't see any scheduled dates, email me anyway and we can try to set one up on a date that works for you.

Visualizing Statistics can also be booked as an on-site workshop for £1,250+VAT, and up to 12 participants can be accommodated in each workshop session. Email to start making arrangements.

A degree of familiarity with Microsoft Excel is needed for this training course.