Skip to Main Content

SOC230: Race and Ethnic Relations

Interpreting a Data Chart/Graph

Here are some tips you can use to interpret data visualizations. 

  1. Identify what information the data visualization is trying to convey. What is the purpose of the information? 
  2. Identify information on each axis. Look at the scale of the graphic. In most cases the Y axis ranges from 0 to the maximum value of the data in the graphic. Sometimes the range can be changed to better highlight differences in the data. Be sure to watch out for broken scales in graphics that change the range to make it look more dramatic than it actually is. 
  3. Is there a comparison of two elements? 
  • Showing data on two different scales can make for an apples-to-oranges comparison. 
  • Showing a correlation can imply causation. Showing two sets of unrelated numbers following a similar path might imply they are related. 
  1. How is the data displayed? Is the graph/chart distorted? Did the author follow convention and arrange the data intuitively?
  2. Is the data credible? See below for a slideshow on how to evaluate information sources. 

Finding and Analyzing Images

Conducting Interviews

PowerPoint Tips

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating an effective PowerPoint presentation:

  1. Remember to avoid too much text. You should keep your text brief and include talking points only. Detailed notes can be inserted into the notes section of PowerPoint, but only you should see those notes, unless a professor asks to see your notes to evaluate your PowerPoint as an assignment.
  2. Be consistent and clear with your font choices. Helvetica is a nice font for presentations. Make sure your font is large enough that an audience in a room would be able to see your text, even if audience members are sitting in the back of the room.
  3. Be careful with your color choices for text and background. You want to make sure your audience can read your text easily. Black on white text is easiest to read but is also boring for a presentation. Still, when you add color, just be sure you are adding color that works and doesn’t distract.
  4. Add images. Text on slides for every slide is boring. Add appropriate images to your slides. Relevant charts and graphs are excellent, as are pictures that will connect to your content.
  5. Make sure your main points are clear. Remember to connect your ideas well and provide background information and transitions when necessary.
  6. Keep your audience in mind. Your audience will affect the overall tone and appearance of your presentation. Sometimes, humor can be appropriate. Other times, a more serious tone may be necessary. Just as you evaluate your situation any time you write a paper, you should evaluate your situation for creating a PowerPoint presentation.

(Source: PowerPoints - Excelsior Online Writing Lab, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-4.0 International License.)

Evaluating Information Sources Video Tutorials
Authority Video Currency Video
Print Tutorial