Potentially Out of My Depth

Background: I love big data. I could spend my whole day on Google Scholar just looking up studies and creating graphics to include the correlations I’ve found. I also love the process by which institutions affect behavior, and so I would really like to combine these two aspects of my life.

Basis: I found a wonderful interactive graphic that actually changed how I thought about my own work by showing the teaching power of interactivity. Try it out for yourself to understand how even a small amount of racism can lead to extreme segregation. It’s not even the data that I love about this, but the way that it is presented and how it gives the audiences an opportunity to learn interactively.

Issue: Let’s ignore for the moment that my HTML and CSS aren’t quite up to snuff. The real issue I’m having is whether my interests would fit into a model like this one. What I would really love to do is have a slide bar where the user can increase or decrease taxes, and the program would respond by showing how¬†the distribution of wealth would change over the next 10, 20, 50 years. I’ve seen similar models but I think this is relatively unique and it would be a lot of fun for me.

Anyone have any good ways to make this more interesting/complicated/awesome?

9 thoughts to “Potentially Out of My Depth”

  1. Hi, Lisa,

    Your idea seems great, but I’m not totally sure on what specifically it is (I’m not very internet-tech-savy). Anyways, I don’t think you should worry about not being experienced enough with online mechanisms–I suppose this class is a great way to learn about new forms that you wouldn’t be able to learn about otherwise.

    Hopefully I can get a better idea of this in class.

  2. I think I am following what you are getting at, and I love the idea of interactive graphics, especially the way that they can present big data to the general public. It is certainly an effective way to take a large and compelling issue and make it easily understood by all. I think the increases/decreases in tax slide bar to show projected distribution of wealth for future increments of years would be a cool idea, but would this be your entire project? If this was the center piece, you could add some really cool side projects about your opinions or research on how quality of life might change in America when we raise or lower taxes. I’m assuming by presenting this topic you would be promoting in a more progressive tax system and a redistribution of wealth? Or would you simply be presenting this data from an apolitical standpoint? Either way could work well, but it would totally shape the voice and attitude of your future capstone. Good luck!

  3. Hi Lisa,

    I LOVE interactive graphics, so I think this is the coolest, but I’m wondering where the writing is in this project. This may be too much – but as possible way to get more writing maybe you could design an experiment of your own that’s doable in this amount of time, collect everything together in a report that’s similar to something that you use to extrapolate data to create the interactive graphics and then create that graphic?

  4. Lisa,
    If you could pull something like that off, I would be absolutely blown. Like that is incredible. And the potential is great! You could get some research done and formulate some arguments and maybe write a little about the issue you want to tackle in a graphic like that. I agree with Jamie in that the graphic above does look pretty intense, and in order to focus your project on writing more than coding, you could certainly put together a website complete with plenty of text, links and an interactive graphic or two. Either way, the interactive and relevant thinking you are doing regarding this project is quite impressive and I think you have no where to go but up. Good luck!


  5. I think the graphic idea is awesome! It provides a way to present information in a new, unique, and creative way. I’m just a little confused about what you want to write about? Is your topic/are you passionate about Racism and segregation in the United States or is this just the example from the graphic? I definitely think this idea is plausible and I think it has the potential to be great, it just needs to clarity and guidance.

    Good luck!

  6. Hey Lisa,
    Like everyone else, I think the interactive approach is great and attention-grabbing. However, I’m not sure what topic in particular you wanted to explore. You talked about being intrigued by how institutions affect behavior. It seems like there’s a tinge of the idea of social inequality in this dynamic you present, so maybe you could do something about the disproportionate amount of incarcerated minorities versus whites in the US, or how the US has the most incarcerated citizens per capita than anyone else in the world. Some project working with those topics could lend itself to cool interactive graphics.

  7. Hey Lisa,

    I have to say I played around with those polygon graphics for a long time, and I think effective graphics, whether interactive or not, can really enhance any argument you make. I think you could actually use the page you linked to as a jumping off point for the format of your project. Central to it could be your argument about the effects of taxes on the redistribution of wealth, including historical data and future projections. To make it easier to visualize, however, creating some graphics would definitely make your project more intellectually engaging and aesthetically pleasing. Structuring your project as an argument reinforced by these graphics, however, seems like the way to go. I’ve also done a bit of work with HTML/CSS in the past, such as on my gateway portfolio, so I could probably point in you in the direction of helpful resources (though I’m pretty rusty at the moment). Excited to see where you take this. Good luck!

  8. Hey Lisa! Wow, these are super cool illustrations. I think the interactiveness of the models is definitely something that would make your project really unique. So how can you broaden the topic itself? What else could you explore about distribution of wealth? I think the topic actually leaves a lot of room to have some fun! Another thing to consider is to what extent you want your topic focus to be purely quantitative. You could include personal stories to compliment the graphs or even case studies if you’re into the research aspect of things.

  9. Hi Lisa,

    So I’m not at all tech-savvy, and like Jamie and other commenters, I’m just a little concerned about what role writing would play in this project. I’m also a little curious as to what it is you’re hoping to illustrate through this project. If you could narrow to think about what sort of point you’d like this project would make – or perhaps narrow the parameters of the data you’d like to showcase – I think that would you would be able to give us a clearer sense of what the project would look like as well as what sort of text you might be able to include. Also, I wonder if you might consider how in some situations, cute, seemingly simple graphics might over-simplify such complex situations, and how you might address that sort of criticism in your project. I’m not saying this to deter you, but just so that you might formulate a sort of counter-argument to that type of criticism.

    Hope this helps!

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