Crafting Data Stories

A hands-on, step-by-step workshop

building real data narratives


Instructor: Heather Krause

September 18 - October 29, 2017







This video can be seen also on Youku



Registering in the platform is easy. Please follow these steps:

  • 1. Create an account in the Journalism Courses system. Even if you’ve taken a course with us before, you may need to create a new account. Check to see if your previous username and password work before creating a new account.
  • 2. Wait for a confirmation in your email indicating that your account has been created. If you do not receive this, please check your spam folder.
  • 3. Pay the $95 registration fee. Click here to pay. The payment must be made only by those who already have an account in the Journalism Courses system. The username and email you used in the system will be required when you complete payment.
  • 4. It may take up to 72 hours to enroll you in the course. You will receive an email confirming your registration, and granting you access to the introductory module of the course.

Please add the email addresses knightcenter@austin.utexas.edu and filipa.rodrigues@utexas.edu to your address book to ensure you receive emails about the course.

By the end of this course you will have built a draft of a data story.

You will also have:

  • Developed a data frame of mind
  • Found a dataset that can answer a question you care about
  • Understood your dataset
  • Conducted a beginning analysis of the dataset
  • Experimented with the best way to communicate your findings
  • Decided on a final narrative type to tell with the dataset
  • Crafted at least one data story concept

This course is open to anyone who is curious about how to tell better data stories. We welcome students living across the globe, with a variety of perspectives, beliefs, opinions, and backgrounds.

While this course is at a beginner level, we do expect students to have a basic working knowledge of either Excel, Tableau, R, or a similar tool for working with data. We will be teaching you the best ways to work with data effectively within these tools, but we will not be teaching you how to use the tools themselves.

No previous experience with data analysis or statistics is required.

Having one of the following applications is recommended:

  • Excel
  • Tableau Public
  • R

  • Any other software tools that work with data are fine as well, including Google Sheets, Open Office, Python, and SPSS.

    First of all, note that this is an asynchronous course. That means there are no live events scheduled at specific times. You can log in to the course and complete activities throughout the week at your own pace, at the times and on the days that are most convenient for you.

    Despite its asynchronous nature, there are still structures in place for the duration of the course. The material is organized into six weekly modules. Each module will be taught by Heather Krause and will cover a different topic through videos, presentations, readings and discussion forums. There will be a quiz each week to test the knowledge you've gained through the course materials. The weekly quizzes, and weekly participation in the discussion forums, are the basic requirements for earning a certificate of participation at the end of the course.

    This course is very flexible, and if you are behind with the materials, you have the entire length of the course to complete them. We do recommend you complete each of the following before the end of each week so you don’t fall behind:

    • Video lectures
    • Readings and handouts/exercises
    • Participation in the discussion forums
    • Quizzes covering concepts from video lectures and/or readings

    Module 1: Finding your best sources: Topics and datasets

    This week you will learn
    • How to think with a data frame of mind
    • Where to find interesting and useful data
    • What different types of data can tell you
    • How to scrape data from websites

    Module 2: The Secret to a great data story: Data biographies

    This week you will learn
    • Why taking the time to deeply understand your data is essential
    • How to build a data biography
    • To understand sampling and margins of error
    • How to clean and prep your data efficiently and effectively

    Module 3: Finding potential stories in your dataset: Exploratory Analysis

    This week you will learn
    • To distinguish between different types of data
    • How to conduct exploratory analysis of numbers
    • Where to start with analyzing text data
    • To develop your ideal story analysis plan

    Module 4: The plot thickens: Next steps in analysis for your data story

    This week you will learn
    • To work with many variables at the sample time
    • How to avoid common mistakes in your analysis
    • What it means to build and use a data model
    • To understand and use cause and effect in data
    • The different types of data narratives

    Module 5: More advanced analysis for your data

    This week you will learn
    • The details of working with complex data relationships
    • To build a multivariate model for your data
    • How to craft a basic map
    • The importance of mediators and confounders in your data story

    Module 6: How to craft a narrative based on your data

    This week you will learn
    • The first steps in writing about data results
    • How to use Tableau Stories to create action and plot
    • Best practices for explaining uncertainty in your stories
    • To harness the power of different types of data storytelling

    Heather Krause is a data scientist with years of working on complex research problems in the social, non-profit, and data journalism sectors. She is passionate about helping people understand and use the best practices and tools to transform data into rich stories. Heather has worked on many complex stories that mix math, science and creativity into comprehensive narratives and data journalism pieces. As the founder and president of Datassist she has worked with FiveThirtyEight, Orb Media, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Syrian Refugee Resettlement Secretariat, and many more international non-profit organizations.

    A certificate of completion will be available for those who meet all of the course requirements. You will have until to complete the class criteria. After October 29, the Knight Center will review your record. After confirmation, of course requirements, the Knight Center will send a message with confirmation that you fulfilled the course requirements and you qualify for the certificate. In this message, we will also send you instructions to download a PDF copy of your certificate through the course platform. You will be able to then download your certificate before the course closes down. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate. The certificate is awarded by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to attest to the participation in the online course.

    For those that meet all of the course requirements, a certificate of completion will be available to download, in PDF format. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate. The certificate is awarded by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to attest to the participation in the online course.

    For those that want to receive a certificate of completion for the course, you must meet the following requirements:

    1) Complete weekly quizzes with a 70% score minimum by the weekly deadline.

    2) Watch weekly video lectures and review weekly readings.

    3) Participate in at least 1 discussion forum each week by given deadline.

    If all requirements are met, an electronic certificate in PDF format will be emailed to the student.

    Please add the following email addresses filipa.rodrigues@utexas.edu and knightcenter@austin.utexas.edu to your address book to ensure you receive emails about the course.





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