Training in effective writing and data visualisation
We offer two types of training that we have designed and tailored for professional economists. Our training can be taken as short masterclasses that provide a taster of what we offer, and more in-depth courses that give participants a full suite of skills.
At the Economics Observatory, we use data to amplify and distil the messages of our articles. Making charts clear and eye-catching, while also ensuring that the underlying data are transparent and replicable, is critical to what we do. Our data courses have been developed by Dénes Csala and Richard Davies and are co-run by the wider Data Hub team.
Our data visualisation masterclass will take you from a being complete beginner to someone capable of designing and building stunning charts using cutting-edge tools, connected to live data. The course is designed to highlight the advantages and some caveats of using data visualisation as the main channel for communicating (economic) information to a wide and diverse audience. It will also introduce some of our guiding principles on visualisation, focusing on transparency and how to select appropriate tools and methods for different datasets and contexts.
It will also introduce participants to ECO’s Data Hub, an interactive data exploration tool that is open, verifiable and automated, allowing users to draw data directly from official sources (such as FRED or the Office for National Statistics) and display the numbers with a simple and flexible tool. Participants will be shown how to create, adapt and share their own charts built using the Data Hub. To find out more about the tool, click here.
Participants gain the skills and tools needed to create excellent charts. The course will also signpost additional resources to develop the ideas further, allowing participants to gain confidence in their own abilities and teach others. For more experienced data users, we also offer a ‘code-along’ session. This delves deeper into the current information representation and science communication theory, exploring more advanced data visualisation methods.
Data Science for Economists
Our full Data Science for Economists course gives participants a broad set of skills. This includes:
- Building a live dashboard.
- Accessing live data via APIs.
- Scraping data from websites.
- Cleaning data using advanced methods.
- Automating data analysis.
- Identifying data patterns using ML.
- Building interactive data visualisations.
Economists communicate mainly through writing, but how many of us devote time and effort to training and honing our writing skills? The ability to write well is not something innate, but is a skill that can be learned step-by-step. Our writing courses start economists on this journey.
Clear communication of economics is at the heart of the Economics Observatory’s mission. Our writing masterclass has been developed by Richard Davies and Romesh Vaitilingam who between them have over five decades of experience as writers, editors and educators working in research, journalism and policy-making.
Our intense course offers practical tips on writing for diverse audiences, taking participants through the process from idea generation and drafting to developing arguments and editing. These guiding principles are then applied to writing examples so participants can see how they work in reality. The course also includes discussion of style and tone when writing for different readerships.
In the later stage of the class, participants receive individual feedback on their own writing (submitted in advance). The editorial team provide overall comments on the piece of work and then step-by-step edits on certain sections to show how the writing can be improved and how the lessons from the course can be employed.
At the end of the masterclass, participants will receive this feedback along with the course resources and links to further materials.
Impactful writing for Economists
Our full writing course takes economists through a step-by-step process that will build their skills as writers. The key elements are:
- Planning: How to scope out a piece of writing. The essential elements of story. What to include and what to avoid.
- Structure: The tool and environment needed for successful writing. How to plan and order your work. Signposting. How to ensure readers get to the end.
- Editing: The ten essential skills that all economics writers need.