background on the project

We’re a group of data practitioners, and in the past few months, we’ve been asked by friends and colleagues to help them learn or brush up on data analysis and visualization. As a result, we’ve put together this series of presentations, exercises, and resources to help understand what goes into transforming data into objective, evidence-based decisions.

The title (Fundamentals of Data Analysis and Visualization) is admittedly a bit grandiose, and there’s no way that you’ll be a data expert after working through these materials. We hope, though, to provide enough of a foundation to be able to learn the art and science of extracting actionable insights and developing visually appealing communications materials from varied data sets.

The materials cover:


Aaron Chafetz

is a trained economist and self-taught data wizard. He currently writes visual basic scripts to process and manage HIV / AIDS data for PEPFAR. Aaron was a caddie at a country club in highschool. He is also an avid runner, biker and fledgling swimmer. @achafetz

Dr. Tim Essam

is an trained agricultural economist who somehow escaped the county seat of Gage County, Nebraska. He enjoys placing Easter eggs in co-worker’s presentations when offering suggestions. He also eats approximately every 45 minutes, and may have a tapeworm. He is passionate about reproducible analysis using Stata and R. @StataRGIS

Dr. Laura Hughes

is a trained biophysical chemist who spent hours staring through a microscope at stains. We have no idea whether or not she can provide laundering tips on removing actual stains from clothing. She enjoys creating her own color schemes and custom plot functions in R. She is passionate about inculcating others with proper data visualization methods, color schemes, and occasional ballet moves. @flaneuseks

Doug Johnson

is a Senior Impact Assessment Advisor in the Lab’s Office of Evaluation and Impact Assessment. Prior to joining the Global Development Lab, Doug was an associate at Abt Associates where he served as principal investigator on several evaluations of public health programs including two randomized controlled trials. Doug received a Master’s in Public Administration, International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Rice University. @dougj8921


Contact us via email or Github.