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Assignment 3 Misleading visualizations

 2/27/2021 Assignment 3: Misleading visualizations

1/2 Assignment 3: Misleading visualizations
Due Friday by 11:59pm Points 25 Submitting a file upload
Available Feb 19 at 11:59pm - Mar 6 at 11:59pm 15 days
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The purpose of this assignment is to help you master what makes visualizations misleading, thus
preventing you from creating them by chance in your future professional life. You will be working with a
dataset that you already know — the same as in Assignment 2. The visualizations that you will create
must seem to be reasonable visualizations at first glance, but you need to encode the data into the
visual elements that shall allow you to tell a story that is probably (or certainly!) not true.
The dataset that you must is the same as in Assignment 2, and it can be found here. It is a small dataset
in the CSV format, and it contains the U.S. financial summaries about each candidate that has
registered with the U.S. Federal Election Commission between the years of 2008 and 2022. Each row
represents a single candidate at a single year (thus the same candidate can appear multiple times). You
can see the details of the contents of each column of the dataset in this link:
https://www.fec.gov/campaign-finance-data/candidate-summary-file-description/
This assignment has three parts:
1. (10 points) In the first part of the assignment, you will be describing some story and creating at least
four correct visualizations (but no more than eight) to support it. It needs to be different from what
you did in Assignment 2, although you can use some hypothesis that you created in that
Assignment. The visualizations that you will create in this part must include at least one time series,
one scatterplot with smoothing or function fitting, and one map visualization (possibly a choropleth).
The story that you will be telling in this part needs shall not be misleading, and neither the
visualizations.
2. (10 points) In the second part of the assignment, you will be transforming the story that you created
in the first part into a misleading story and using at least four misleading visualizations (but no more
than eight) to support the wrong version of the story. The visualizations that you will create in this
part do not need to be the same as those that you created in the first part, but the story should be
very similar, if not the same but with an inverse conclusion. Also, the misleading visualizations must
be misleading by the adoption of relatively subtle errors for an untrained eye (e.g. as we saw in
2/27/2021 Assignment 3: Misleading visualizations
 
class, by using inadequate colors, by failing to report some confidence level, by starting a bar chart,
not from zero, by using or not a scale transformation, by using a bad visual representation for a
certain type of data, etc.), but cannot be obviously wrong at the first glance.
3. (5 points) In the third part of the assignment, you shall annotate a copy of the misleading story
commenting on how the misleading elements in the visualization support your misleading story.
Note that although you will be creating misleading visualizations, what you are doing in this assignment
is a demonstration of your mastering of the concepts behind creating compelling, correct, and good
visualizations!
General instructions
1. Your assignment must be submitted as a PDF file with at most six pages, with at most two pages
dedicated to part 1, two pages for part 2, and two pages for part 3. Make sure to add your name to the
top of all the pages.
2. You must include the code as a part of the PDF file. The codes do not count towards the page limit
and can be added to an appendix.
3. You shall submit the assignment via Canvas by the due date.
4. You can share the visualizations that you create on Piazza and ask for feedback from other students,
but you shall not share the code that you are using to produce them.
5. This assignment is to be done either individually or in a group of two (i.e. a pair). If you are working in
a pair, you are expected to contribute equally to the assignment. Also, if you are working in pairs, you
shall add a paragraph describing which visualizations were created mainly by each member of the
group. This paragraph can be added in an appendix and will not count towards the page limit.
Note: You cannot use visualization code written by your classmates. Use code found over the Internet at
your own peril -- it may not do exactly what the assignment requests. If you do end up using code you
find on the Internet, you must disclose the origin of the code and properly cite it. Concealing the origin of
a piece of code is plagiarism. Use Piazza for general questions whose answers can benefit you and
everyone.
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