Collecting, Analyzing, and Visualizing Election Data (5-hour course)

The use of data has already begun to change the way that elections are understood and conducted in the U.S. But the ways that data are collected, processed, and reported are still unreliable and inconsistent, and election officials may not know how they can be making the most of the data they’re producing.

This course will introduce you to practical approaches for collecting and analyzing data, visualizing it, and presenting it persuasively using commonly available tools.

Our 5-hour course provides an in-depth, tailored curriculum on using election data and includes a work block in which participants will create an original data visualization with one-on-one support from CTCL instructors.

Looking for a more basic overview of using election data? Maybe our 90-minute course would do the trick. 

Course objectives

After completing this course, you will:

  • Have familiarity with data sources and guidelines
  • Have established a basis for analyzing data
  • Be familiar with examples of how election officials have have used data in their work
  • Be able to identify the right data to use for your goal
  • Know what EAVS data is and ways to explore it
  • Be aware of free tools to visualize your data

Course outline

Part 1: Developing knowledge and understanding

  • Why do we care about data? What can data help you do?
  • Comparing and contrasting: What's normal? What's not? Who's a peer?
  • Determining what's working and what's not: Correlation? Causation? Unexpected consequences?
  • What you can do with your data: use it to demonstrate transparency, to persuade, etc.
  • Breakout: data interpretation exercise: what does this sample dataset show, and what questions does it leave unanswered?

15-minute break

Part 2: Using data to persuade

  • Sources of data: exploring current sources and ways to collect new data
  • Principles for effective data collection
  • Understanding EAVS

1-hour lunch

Part 2: Using data to persuade (continued)

  • Importance of understanding context for your data: What's your goal? Who's your audience?
  • Examples "in the wild" of how election officials have used data effectively
  • Choosing your data: What's the right data to tell your story?
  • Breakout: choosing data to support a goal or argument 

Part 3: Visualizing your data

  • Visualizing data: dos and don'ts
  • Examples of how election offices have created effective data visualizations
  • Introduction to Excel and Tableau Public
  • Work block: using Excel or Tableau Public to create a data visualization

Ready to learn?

We're ready to prepare a course to fit your needs. Click the link below to start the conversation.