The Data Visualisation workshop is divided into two distinct parts – principles and applications.


Enables Life Scientists to Effectively Use Visuals to Complement the Written Word


Participants Learn How To:

  • Use Figures and Tables to effectively tell the story of their research.
  • Decide whether text, tables, or plots are most appropriate to convey the message of each result.
  • Choose the most appropriate plot type for their data.
  • Understand the science of perception and apply design principles to communicate their message clearly.
  • Use aesthetics to relate sensory attributes (colour, shape, etc.) to abstractions (enrichment, change-over-time).
  • Distinguish between graphics for publication and for data exploration.


Our Teaching Approach Emphasises:

  • The participants’ own data – Participants submit their own figures or tables to be critiqued by the instructors.
  • Relevant examples – Representations of biological data help participants to identify the challenges they will face in their own work.
  • Effective use of figures – Figures are taught as a way to maximize the impact of a research article, reinforcing the written word.


Reasons to Choose Science Craft:

  • Scientists with over 20 years of combined experience preparing figures for scientific manuscripts.
  • A reference book specifically tailored to the graphical needs of life scientists.
  • The stand-alone Principles module of our Data Visualisation workshop complements our Data Analysis workshop, taking participants’ graphics to the next level. In combination with the Scientific Writing workshop, participants receive a comprehensive grounding in the strengths and weaknesses of both the written word and the visual medium for communicating their research.


Life Scientists Learn Practical and Flexible Commands for Generating Graphics using R


Participants Learn How To:

  • Produce publication-quality figures directly in R.
  • Automate graphics generation using templates and GUIs.
  • Use R graphics packages appropriately, including base, lattice, ggplot2, and iPlots.
  • Produce interactive visualizations for data exploration.
  • Generate non-standard plots, e.g. mosaic plots, venn diagrams and heat maps.


Our Teaching Approach Emphasises:

  • Practical code – Participants receive “cookbook” style code that they can immediately use or modify.
  • The Power of R – Participants learn how to take advantage of R’s functional and flexible capabilities, e.g. in generating non-standard plots.
  • Learning-by-doing – Key concepts are reinforced using hands-on practical exercises.


Reasons to Choose Science Craft:

  • Instructors are scientists with over 5 years of experience using R to prepare figures for scientific manuscripts.
  • Our easy-to-use reference book includes ready-to-use code and techniques that can be quickly implemented.
  • This workshop, in combination with the Data Analysis workshop equips participants with an in-depth understanding of R to meet their data and graphic needs.


Course Details
Duration: 2 full days
Maximum Capacity: 12 participants
Instructors: Dr. Rick Scavetta


Heatmaps are very popular despite the difficulty inherent in their interpretation. Encoding continuouse variables on a colour scale, and alternatives are discussed in the workshop.

The ggplot2 package in R allows for flexible and sophisticated plots. Students begin programming with their own data at the beginning of the second day.

Key concepts in graphical perception are discussed, including how aspect ratios affect how we interpret plots.

The value of graphical data analysis is apparent when we consider Anscombe’s plots, which are all described by the same linear model, but have distinct distributuions.


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Prerequisites for the Applications Section

To fully benefit from the applications day, it is assumed that participants have sufficient experience with R to execute code. Participants who have taken the Data Analysis workshop will meet this requirement.