I did a really nice study with Lisa Singh and Janet Mann looking at how some of the student researchers on Janet’s research team used Lisa’s visualization software (Invenio Workflow) to explore field data on dolphin social networks. There are only a few students in the research group so the n for this study is too small to draw any generalizable conclusions from, but we did learn a lot about difficult it is to connect observations in the field with raw data. For long term projects like this new people constantly come onto the team and a lot of the embodied knowledge that researchers have through years of field observations and data collection is lost when those researchers leave because it’s hard to transfer that kind of tacit knowledge to a new team member. It seems that visualization can help keep some of the continuity. The really interesting next step question I’ve been asking here is whether doing some work with visualization beforehand can inform student researchers observations in the field. Continuity goes both ways after all.

Check out our VAST poster below.