Density Plots, Atomic Habits, Nutrition & Fasting, Sapiens, & #VizUM2019

Data Visualization of Density Plots for Small and Medium Effect Sizes

Below are articles and other resources I came across through my work as a program evaluator, professor, and psychologist. The digests I share mostly relate to evaluation, psychology, health, and education. I also usually include a quote, book, and/or an event that may interest you.


Density- From Data to Viz (Yan Holtz)
A density plot is a smoothed version of a histogram and is very useful for illustrating distributions of variables, which is a good first step in data analysis. It can also be useful in comparing up to about three groups on the same variable. Yan provides examples as well as R and Python code!


Atomic Habits Cheat Sheet (James Clear)
This two-page summary of James’ way of thinking about building positive habits and decreasing negative ones outlined in his book, Atomic Habits, can be quite useful for those trying to make a change in their lives. I am working on a video in which I discuss how my meditation practice was solidified using these guidelines (although I only recently realized that this was the case). More to come…


Framework for Nutrition and Fasting (Peter Attia)
If you want to getting a better understanding of the difference between time restricted eating and fasting, among other important nutritional factors, this video is a good start. Peter refers to nutritional biochemistry as one of the five pillars of longevity. It shares an overview of his way of conceptualizing nutrition and fasting and why he refers to the Standard American Diet as a “killing machine”.


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Yuval Noah Harari)
This helpful visual timeline of history provides a great overall framework for the major events and trends identified in his book, which is a favorite of many including Bill Gates. I find it useful as a scaffold for learning other historical events and understanding the context impacting certain psychological, health, and social phenomena. For instance, dietary practices instituted during the agricultural revolution (about 12,000 years ago) do not necessarily promote well-being but are present due to social and economic factors. For instance, this encourages me to question the benefits of conventional eating behaviors even though they have been around for a long while- 12,000 years is a blip in our evolution going back 200,000 years with the emergence of Homo Sapiens.


VizUM2019: Uncertainty in Visualization (University of Miami)
If you can make it to Coral Gables on Wednesday, December 11th from 4 to 7pm you can catch Jessica Hullman’s talk titled “Supporting Reasoning with Uncertainty Using Data Visualization” and Alberto Cairo’s presentation titled, “How Charts Lie: What You Design is Not What People See.” For a taste of Alberto’s work check out this article in Scientific American. I highly recommend going to the event, these types of talks at UM have been excellent and this one is free!

“Whereas the truths of science are communicable… mythology and metaphysics are but guides to the brink of a transcendent illumination.” – Joseph Campbell

(Thanks to Bernardo Kastrup for citing this quote in his book, “More Than Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth, and Belief”)



More Digest posts:

Ridgeline Plots, Indistractable, Why We Sleep, & Quantum Computing

Depression & Exercise, Cohen’s U3, Impact of Vaping, & Super Thinking


James Pann smiling at the camera, sitting in front of green trees

James Pann, Ph.D. is a Professor at Nova Southeast University and a highly experienced psychologist and evaluator with nearly 25 years of experience. He conducts research and evaluation projects with non-profit organizations in the fields of health, human services, and education, and has received funding from multiple government agencies.

James holds multiple degrees including a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, an M.S. Ed. from the University of Miami, and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the host of the EvalNetwork podcast, a frequent conference presenter, and has published several peer-reviewed research articles and co-authored a book. James currently resides in Miami, Florida with his family and enjoys backpacking trips. Find out more about his work here.


Retrospective pretest designs

The Power of Retrospective Pretests to Address Common Survey Research Challenges

James Pann interviews Melanie Hwalek, Ph.D., a program evaluation consultant, to discuss the retrospective pretest (RPT) design, focusing on its practical applications and the findings from her recent research detailed in the paper, “Designing a Questionnaire with Retrospective PrePost Items: Format Matters.” RPT is particularly useful for evaluating changes in participants’ perceptions or self-assessments following

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Empowerment Evaluation

Empowering Change: David Fetterman on Using Evaluation to Build a Better World

David Fetterman is a leading expert in empowerment evaluation, an approach that emphasizes collaboration, participation, and capacity building. He has written extensively on the topic, and his work has been used in a wide range of settings, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and businesses. David’s work focuses on helping people evaluate their programs and initiatives

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