This project was by far one of the most difficult. I feel as though as we move forward, the assignments become tougher to accomplish. I did not know how difficult it was going to be to create “simple” bar graphs and line graphs. I mean, we learn to create such graphs in elementary and middle school, so why should it be so complicated today?
The first step was to actually find some data on Roger Williams University. I looked through the online website for various statistics but had a hard time trying to find usable data for the table I would create. I searched through the website and eventually found some data over the years of 2008-2011 of the increase in tuition here at Roger Williams. Although the difference in price may affect us as students when we look at the individual costs, the graphs of the data did not show a significant change and therefore did not create an effective story. The search seemed futile until I found the public safety records from 2008 to 2010 of the various student violations report. The entire table shows various, specific forms of violations with their respective definitions. In my table, I only used the data from the Disciplinary Actions on Campus in the Residence Halls, since I felt that other students could relate to this information. Seeing the different violations could help keep students safer and more aware of their decisions that they make in college. There were other data, but these pieces of information did not seem pertinent to what I wanted to show in the graphs.
I next began to create a table of this data. I thought it would be simple enough, but it became difficult when I went to create the graph on Microsoft Excel. I decided to go with the bar graph to display the differences in the number of different violations. I highlighted the table information and inserted the graph into the program. I was having major issues as the graph was not labeled correctly, the scale was not labeled correctly, and the data were in the wrong axes. I decided to abandon the computer software in order to effectively hand draw the graphs. I started to draw the table and was becoming extremely frustrated with being a perfectionist. Eventually I went back to the computer and just created a different table of the same information. Finally a graph was created!
I then decided to try to make a line graph out of this information. This type of graph helps to show data over time and how it changes. It shows a significant drop in the number of “Liquor Law Violations” from 2008 to 2009, regardless of there still being almost five hundred violations. This may signify that the alcohol policy on campus became stricter the next year. It could also show that students were more aware of the rules and did not want to pay the consequences of breaking the school rules.
According the Tufte’s Principle, the visual representation should depict the most amount of information with the least amount of ink, while maintaining the truth (Ware). I feel that in these two graphs, I have effectively displayed the changing number of violations of Roger Williams University’s various rules of conduct through the years 2008-2010. The line graph seems much more efficient in portraying the elements represented in Public Safety’s Report.
If I had more time to complete this assignment, I would most likely have found a way to add more of the table of the entire Public Safety Report. While most of the data show no results, but students could definitely benefit from the graphic representation of past violations so they can be aware of their decision-making while attending the school.