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A two-day Education Alliance workshop series

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In 2017, the i-sense Education Alliance Committee reached out to its members to understand what future activities could be planned to best benefit the cohort. Those who responded to the survey suggested that workshops focused on statistics and data visualisation could complement their skills and help support their work and presentations.

In response to this feedback, the Education Alliance Committee set up two workshops that ran back-to-back on 1 and 2 February 2018, including:

  1. Designing trials of diagnostic test accuracy, facilitated by Sue Mallett from University of Birmingham
  2. Data Visualisation Masterclass, facilitated by the Guardian

i-sense Education Alliance lead, Dr Neil Keegan, says “It was great that the mandates for our 2018 workshops were provided by the Education Alliance peer network.

“The choices were inspired and saw senior academics, research associates, PhD students and technicians learn as a team, across two exciting days.”

Designing trials for diagnostic tests accuracy workshop

The workshop was an interactive day that included examples and active participation for attendees to complete exercises in small groups. The focus of the workshop was to:

  • study the design and role of diagnostic tests and how they can be evaluated
  • study sample size
  • assess potential sources of bias and applicability
  • understand how to interpret and communicate results of diagnostic test accuracy

What did participants say about the workshop?

“I thought that some aspects of the workshop, particularly the ones covering how to evaluate the statistical relevance of a clinical study, were clearly presented and quite useful, especially in the context of our collaboration with the Africa Health Research Institute, which generates large amounts of data.”

- Dr Valérian Turbé, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the i-sense McKendry group at UCL

“In the workshop I learned how to make my data understandable and appealing for a broader audience.”

- Dr Marta Broto-Aviles, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the i-sense Stevens group at Imperial College London

“Overall a great introductory course on methods of evaluating diagnostic tools, outlining current best practice in theory and then applying it to real world examples. 

“One really useful component was the practical exercises on how to deconstruct published data, identify inconsistencies and bias in the analysis, and how these can dramatically affect the conclusions drawn when evaluating a diagnostic tool.”

- Dr Dan Frampton, Bioinformatician, i-sense, UCL

Data visualisation: A one-day workshop

The data visualisation workshop usually runs as part of the Guardian Masterclasses and was adapted to fit the i-sense team. It provided the opportunity for all i-sense members to think about ways to present their data in an interesting, aesthetically appealing way, that is easy for their audience to understand.

The workshop was facilitated by two graphic designers who provided examples of good and bad data visualisation and facilitated small group activities for participants to apply the skills learnt.

The focus of the workshop was to:

  • learn the art of good infographic storytelling
  • understand each specific audience and their needs 
  • see and learn about data visualisation best practice
  • design infographics to make your graphs and charts impactful

What did participants say about the workshop?

“It was really interesting to step back from the data and think about how to construct a narrative that best communicates the information to diverse audiences.”

- Colleen Loynachan, PhD student in the i-sense Stevens group at Imperial College London

“I found the course very informative and helpful in understanding design principles and structures for storytelling.”

- Stefania Lanza, Research Coordinator, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

“The facilitators introduced some really interesting concepts, the main one being that when presenting data less really can be more."

- Julia Spoors, Senior Research Technician, Newcastle University

“It was fascinating to hear the history of data visualisation in the context of real world examples, as well as hearing about some of the current pioneers.

"This in-depth background facilitated a highly engaging workshop, teaching me a multitude of data visualisation skills and concepts I can utilise as a Research Scientist."

- Dr Christopher Johnson, Research Associate, Newcastle University