Research and education are in the early stages of major transformations, resulting from (1) increased availability of data at unprecedented scale; (2) advances in computation and data analytics; and (3) a recognition that complex questions are better answered by interdisciplinary teams. A major challenge to data-intensive, interdisciplinary research is communication. It is often challenging to derive conclusions from high-volume, high-variety data because researchers from multiple disciplines must come to a shared understanding of merged data.
Beyond the scientific community, there is also an urgent need to communicate scientific results to the public and improve scientific literacy in the general population. Dr. Emily Bernhardt understands that the common thread across all these areas is data, and she believes that data can be translated to a common computational language that makes it possible for different disciplines to engage and communicate through the creation and sharing of data as a narrative. To this end, Dr. Bernhardt is working alongside Duke’s emerging talented faculty in Data Science to develop an Environmental Data Storytelling Pipeline; a modular, open-source workflow for the creation of interactive data applications that bring “resting” big-data sets to life. Using innovative data visualization applications, Dr. Bernhardt hopes to train environmental and data scientists who are equipped to develop accessible narratives of their findings, or “Data Stories”, that engage diverse audiences, using visually compelling presentations that demonstrate why an issue is important, and that enlightens them about how scientific data are collected and interpreted.
See some examples of Data Storytelling here.