Also known as The Plushie Paper (due to our unique survey compensation), we conducted a survey about how people describe their data. The results of the survey are available as an interactive summary here

Abstract: Many data abstraction types, such as networks or set relationships, remain unfamiliar to data workers beyond the visualization research community. We conduct a survey and series of interviews about how people describe their data, either directly or indirectly. We refer to the latter as latent data abstractions. We conduct a grounded theory analysis and develop a substantive theory that (1) interprets the extent to which latent data abstractions exist, (2) reveals the far-reaching effects that the interventionist pursuit of such abstractions can have on data workers, (3) predicts why and when data workers may resist such explorations, and (4) suggests how to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate risks through transparency about visualization research perspectives and agendas. To continue the discussion, we make our dataset open along with a visual interface for further exploration.


A. Bigelow, K. Williams, and K. E. Isaacs. Guidelines For Pursuing and Revealing Data Abstractions. Submitted to IEEE VIS 2020.