3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 20, 2018 5:07 AM by Anna H. Dzikowska

    Tableau for Researchers

    Nik Whitehead

      Earlier in the year I did the Tableau Desktop Fundamentals and Advanced courses to support my teaching of data warehousing. During this I realised that Tableau might have far more reach than just the BI field - it's an idea tool to explore and visualise research data. As a result, and as part of the 'disseminating knowledge to colleagues' funding condition I've just completed the first of what looks like regular staff development sessions on using Tableau as a scientist.


      Like business intelligence, science nowadays produces large datasets that are challenging to analyse and visualise without specialist tools such as R or Matlab. Many scientists, however, don't have the time to learn either of these, and are happy to do their statistical analyses in other packages but want something with a bit more oomph to visualise the data. Tableau seems to fit this very well, providing such a broad range of visualisations that the data exploration process, as well as the production of graphics for publication is significantly speeded up.


      As a result, I'm now introducing my students to Tableau as their main data visualisation tool as part of their research methods course, and my colleagues are starting to show interest in it as well. Is anyone else out there using Tableau in this way? If so, I'd be very interested to compare notes.

        • 1. Re: Tableau for Researchers
          G Marc Turner

          Hi Nik,

          This is an interesting idea. I haven't heard of researchers using Tableau, but I do know it can be used to help display and visually analyze the results of survey data. I could also see it being useful for exploring data sets to look for unexpected relationships or patterns in a more visual way. The integration with R could also be useful from a research perspective. It will be interesting to see what the cluster analysis in v10 brings to the table since I can see that being something of interest to researchers as well. I'd be interested to hear what feedback you are getting from faculty you have introduced to it are saying.


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          • 2. Re: Tableau for Researchers
            Nik Whitehead

            Hi Marc,

            The staff I introduced to Tableau last week went away buzzing with ideas on how they could use it to analyse and display their data - in subjects that included non-destructive testing, geography, astrostatistics, and usability. It looks like I'm going to be doing a couple more of these workshops later this year as they're being made mandatory for our grad students. I'm also looking forward to the inclusion of more data mining techniques, as while I'm happy to use R (and will be teaching the R/Tableau combo) I know there are some folks who won't feel comfortable with something so blatantly code-like.

            - Nik

            • 3. Re: Tableau for Researchers
              Anna H. Dzikowska

              Hi Nick


              I also find this tool as very usuful, intiutive and user friendly. I teach health economics and public health and my studends are very ecited compering health system performance using Tableau.


              Hope the statistical package will be be more developed soon to have more power among researches to use it for scientifical papers.