In graduate school, I wasn’t taught how to code or how to be a good writer, how to present my research, or how to make better graphs. School was for learning the theory and the literature, but it wasn’t about communicating that work to, well, anyone other than other researchers. My goal at PolicyViz is to help you do a better job communicating your research, analysis, and ideas.
My name is Jonathan Schwabish. I’m an economist by training, but over the last 10 years, I’ve worked hard to communicate my research in better ways and to help others do the same. Here on my site I share blog posts and tutorials on aspects of data visualization and data communication, as well as the popular PolicyViz Podcast. Through each of these efforts, I am interested in helping others do a better job communicating their data. I also offer teaching, speaking, and consulting services to reach beyond what I can offer on my website.
I am currently a Senior Fellow in The Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Policy Center. I am also a member of the Institute’s Communication team where I specialize in data visualization and presentation design. Prior to my time at Urban, I spent the previous 9 years at the Congressional Budget Office conducting research in such areas as earnings and income inequality, immigration, disability insurance, retirement security, data measurement, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other aspects of public policy.
I am considered a leader in the data visualization field and advocate for clarity and accessibility in research. I’ve written extensively about best practices for data visualization, including the technical aspects of creation, design best practices, and accessibly communicating social science research. Through my work, I try to help nonprofits, research institutions, and governments at all levels improve how they communicate their work and findings to their partners, constituents, and citizens.
In addition to my efforts to improve how researchers communicate their findings to a wider audience, I continue to pursue my existing research portfolio. Ongoing and future work includes investigation of child nutrition programs; the interaction between disability and food insecurity; and coincident retirement-disability Social Security benefit claiming behavior. I am also the lead author on the popular Do No Harm Project, a growing series of reports on how to take a more equitable, inclusive, and accessible view of your data work.
I earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Syracuse University and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
I’ve written three books on more effective ways to communicate data. Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks (2016) coaches people through preparing, designing, and delivering data-rich content; Elevate the Debate: A Multilayered Approach to Communicating Your Research (2020) helps people develop a strategic plan to communicating their work across multiple platforms and channels; and Better Data Visualizations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks details essential strategies to create more effective data visualizations. My forthcoming book, Data Visualization in Excel: A Guide for Beginners, Intermediates, and Wonks, will be published by CRC Press in Spring 2023.
I’m eager to help you do a better job processing, analyzing, sharing, and presenting your data and your research. I currently offer virtual and on-site training workshops in data visualization, Excel, Tableau, R, and presentation skills. Please also follow me on Twitter @jschwabish, watch videos on my YouTube channel, sign-up for my newsletter on Substack, mobile Winno community, fun dataviz stuff on my Instagram feed, or just contact me directly.