Public Lab Research note

Create a “data story” to communicate environmental data

by bhamster , renee | December 02, 2021 19:12 02 Dec 19:12 | #28326 | #28326

Lead image: by Lauren Manning, CC BY


Storytelling can be an effective way to turn environmental data into an impactful message. This activity outlines key steps a group can do together to create a "data story" for their community science data.

Check out the question that prompted this activity here:

Materials needed

  • Blank paper, sticky notes, pens, markers, and pencils for outlining ideas and sketching storyboards with a group
  • A computer or tablet for accessing data, creating visualizations


Infographic about creating your community science data story

Image: infographic of steps in creating a community science data story, by @renee.

Infographic about key elements of telling a data story

Image: infographic of key elements of telling a data story, by @renee.

Wrap up

  • Comparing data visualization tools: this research note by @fongvania features a collaborative table of different data viz tools--head here when you're ready to choose a tool.
  • Share your data story and visualizations with the Public Lab community! You can comment below, or post a research note!
  • Have ideas for improving this activity? Please comment below!

References and additional resources

  • "Start Sketching Your Data Story," from the open-access web edition of Hands-On Data Visualization: Interactive Storytelling from Spreadsheets to Code, by Jack Dougherty and Ilya Ilyankou.

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@bhamster has marked @renee as a co-author.

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