Bill Ferster’s Interactive Visualization: Insight Through Inquiry serves as a starting point to interactive visualization specifically though Ferster’s ASSERT model/framework (xiv). Interactive visualization is, according to Ferster, “the process of letting primary sources of information communicate directly with a viewer to support inquiry in a visual, compelling, and interactive manner” (1). The ASSERT model/framework serves as a place to start in trying to find the best and most innovative way of utilizing data to create
The ASSERT model identifies six key aspects to creating an interactive visualization. You must ask questions. Then, search for the evidence that will help you answer those questions. Third, you must structure the data/information you collect to answer your questions. Fourth, you need to start to envision how you can answer your questions using your collected evidence/data. Fifth, you represent the evidence/data into a visualization that captures attention. Finally, you must tell “a meaningful story using the evidence to answer” your questions (xiv).
Looking at my specific digital project for the course, I have a large set of data that is a compilation of a small selection of pension records from nurses from the First World War. These particular pension records are from nurses that received pensions for the diagnosis of debility, specifically cases of debility that relate to psychological war trauma. Debility as a diagnosis was a largely loose diagnosis during and after the war. Meaning, it was used to not only describe psychological cases, but physical cases as well. I think my basic starting point question is what do these records and the diagnosis of debility reveal about psychological trauma during the First World War, specifically for nurses? Based on the data within the records, how was the trauma acknowledged?
I think my struggle with the data that I have collected will stem from gaps and limitations in the data itself. While I have a significant amount of data gathered, not only from the pension records, but additional data on the women from the records, it is difficult to consider the data complete because of the fact that debility as a diagnosis was so loose. As stated above, some of these women may have been diagnosed with debility in regard to a physical ailment; however, the physical ailment might be in relation to psychological wounds, but it was not labelled or related to psychological trauma. This does cause an issue in the compilation of the data and the accuracy in answering research questions. Then again, this might reveal something within the data on how psychological trauma was viewed and addressed. Or too, there may be a way to utilize what data I do have, but remain transparent about the fact that the data is incomplete. Additionally, I may have to find a different way of approaching the data and find the best way to present it as it is, while still creating a compelling visualization.
Question for Bill Ferster: What are some of the ways to best acknowledge the limitations of the data that has been collected for a visualization?