How is the data visualized?

Once the data is selected, there are multiple ways to represent it visually, particularly with data that doesn't have any inherent visual properties. Those choices about how to visually map data are rhetorical ones and require our critical attention. The forms of visual representation highlight different aspects of the data and they make certain arguments, whether intentionally or not.

for example

Here are some interactive visualizations of Iraq/Afghanistan war casualties. Whether it's a drawing, photograph, map, chart/graph, or other visual representation, the choice itself conveys information and a perspective on the data.

"A Year in Iraq and Afghanistan," by The New York Times is a schematic that represents individual soldiers as figures, coded with colors and symbols to indicate nationality and cause of death.

"Faces of the Fallen," by The Washington Post, presents small photos of each killed soldier; you can click on each photo to find out more information about the individual.

"Faces of the Dead," by The New York Times, embeds photos of all the killed soldiers within a large photo of an individual. Additional information about each individual is on the right of the main graphic. Clicking in the image brings you to a large photo of another individual.

"Home and Away," by CNN, focuses on location--connecting the home of each soldier with the place where he or she was killed. Clicking on a location will show you soldiers who lived or died there; clicking on an individual soldier provides brief biographical information, the circumstances of his or her death, and an opportunity for viewers to share memories and messages.