Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring – Improve Data Visualization
08 Aug 2019

Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring – Improve Data Visualization

Market research reports can many times become overwhelming with endless charts, tables, and lists of quotes. However, telling the story is as important as the data that is gathered. Exceptional visualizations of survey data help show the data in a digestible manner as well as convey a better picture of findings. 

Visualizing data and synthesizing information is a difficult task. To quote statistician Edward Tufte, “To envision information–and what bright and splendid visions can result–is to work at the intersection of image, word, number, art. The instruments are those of writing and typography, of managing large data sets and statistical analysis, of line and layout and color.” Data visualization lies somewhere between math and art. Here are four things to keep in mind when visualizing your open ends and survey data.

1. Visualize Comparisons

Show comparisons, contrasts, differences.  

Useful visualizations show differences between items. Include significant differences between groups on bar graphs to emphasize where contrast lies in the data. Above all, the point of visualizing data is to learn through comparisons. Therefore, an effective visualization reveals a found difference within a dataset.


Show multivariate data; graphs, word clouds, location, and more.

Visualizing as much data in as many different ways is key to making the most out of your surveys. Surveys include a few types of data. There are simple bar graphs to visualize multiple choice answers, but there are more creative ways that might bring out something new in the data. Think about showing data based on location on a map (i.e., What state are you from?). If there are ways to create networks connecting answers, a network graph could be informative. 

For open-ended responses, word clouds to display the most common words and topics that appeared. There are simple word clouds which present the most frequent words in a text set. Then there are more involved methods like topic modeling and sentiment analysis. In short, you should consider both when displaying open-ended responses.

3. Documentation in Market research

Thoroughly describe the evidence. Provide a full title, indicate the authors and sponsors, document the data sources, show complete measurement scales, point out relevant issues.

It’s most important to describe your data. By giving titles, pairing your graphics with question data, and even explaining the results of your visualizations, you are presenting your information correctly and giving your viewers as much information as possible.

4. Quality Above All when working on visualization

Analytical presentations ultimately stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content.

Most important is the integrity of the data. Today, it’s important to show data that is correct, cleaned, and accurately described. A misleading visualization is a lousy visualization. As a result, everything else is out the window if the content is inaccurate and of poor quality.

It’s important to be vigilant yet creative in your data visualizations. It is essential to keep these four methods in mind when visualizing your survey responses. In other words, don’t let shoddy visualization methods affect your interpretation of the survey’s results.

Most importantly, the goal of every survey is to collect useful information that is both accurate and easy to analyze. Make sure you are correctly and creatively visualizing that information.

Want to learn more about Market Research? Here are some blog posts to check out!

  1. What’s the Difference Between Quantitative vs. Qualitative?
  2. Virtual Reality & Qualitative Research: Fad or Here to Stay?
  3. 6 Things to Watch Out for When Writing a Survey
  4. Marketing Strategies for Generation Alpha: the Newest Generation

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