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Controversial Opinion! Text in Graphical Abstracts

Occasionally, I have a controversial opinion about research communication.* This week it is: The best graphical abstracts have orienting text. OoOoOoOo! Provocative, right?** Let's break down this assertion. What's a graphical abstract? A graphical abstract is an illustrated summary of…

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This is the Data Soapbox logo icon, rendered in blue.

Blue (da ba dee da ba di)

If you listened to pop music in the late 90’s, you surely remember this little gem by Eiffel 65. (<-- Click this link now and you'll have a great soundtrack for reading the rest of this post!) I was doing…

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The presence of well-maintained trees is associated with less aggression, violence, and criminal activity in households and neighborhoods. Drawing of tree filled with hearts, smiley faces, and peace signs. Source: Turner-Skoff and Cavender, 2019, the benefits of trees for livable and sustainable communities. In the journal Plans, People, Planet, volume 1, pages 323 to 335.

Recap: SciArt September

Remember when I posted about my love for art supplies? Well, last month, artists Liz Butler and Glendon Mellow gave me a great excuse to use them and call it work: Often, science art focuses on the natural sciences. And…

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This image says On Pizza and Audience Segmentation. There is an image of a pizza slice, and the round pepperoni slices are little pie charts.

On Pizza and Audience Segmentation

Imagine, if you will, that I asked you to order a pizza. “Sure. What kind of pizza?” you ask. Whatever people will like. OK, who are these “people”? Everyone at our meeting! Can you be a bit more specific? Um,…

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This is a diagram of a football field. There are two teams, yellow smiley faces on the left and blue frowny faces on the right. The yellow ball carrier is around the left five yard line.

Research Communication: Go for the Touchdown!

Hey, friends! College football kicked off last weekend,* and the NFL season starts next week. That makes it the perfect time to share my favorite football analogy.** Picture this: Your rival team (blue) kicks off. Your (yellow) team’s punt returner…

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This is a slide that reads Use blank words of text. The possible answers are A, 50 to 100 words, B, 100 to 300 words, C, 300 to 800 words, and D, 800 to 1200 words.

How Do I Love This Poster? Let Me Count the Words.

Two weeks ago, I realized that one of my fundamental beliefs about the world was wrong. Over the past several years, I’ve facilitated a bunch of workshops on designing and presenting scientific posters. Broadly, those workshops cover what content should…

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This is a picture of a gavel, with the words Legal Visuals, Fluffy or Functional.

Legal Visuals: Fluffy or Functional?

Professional areas like science and law are dominated by written and spoken communication. For scientists, peer-reviewed journal articles and scientific conference presentations are the flagship communication formats. And then legal professionals spend much of their time reading and writing legal…

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This is a photo of a book cover: Good Charts, by Scott Berinato.

Book Review: Good Charts

I’ve had Scott Berinato’s Good Charts on my bookshelf for a couple of years and finally had a chance to read it in June. I read a decent pile of research communication books and articles each year, and the same…

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This graph builds on the previous one, replacing the nine dots with nine football shapes.

On Decoration and Design

Before I started Data Soapbox, I was a practicing researcher. I designed research studies and collected, analyzed, and reported the data. As time went on, I got more and more interested in the reporting part of my job, to the…

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This is a photo of a boy holding the Animals by the Numbers book.

Book Review: Animals by the Numbers

Is your child gunning for my job as Head Nerd at Data Soapbox? (No?) Do they really like animal facts, at least? (Of course.)* Great! Allow me to recommend Steve Jenkins’s Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics.…

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