It is when we do not have to believe, but come into actual contact with Truth, and are related to her in the most direct and intimate way. … This world is but canvas to our imaginations.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU, 1849
This and the next chapter go together. Think of them like a pair of optical lenses. Metaphorical magnifying glasses are often employed by authors to peer at things. But here we will not employ lenses to look through. Instead, we will use them to expand and focus, as prisms transform light.
Exploratory analysis, which we detailed in the first half of the book, expands your personal knowledge. Probing generates insights. It also produces visual artifacts that document what the data has to show. The more time you spend, the wider the field spreads. This expanding process casts a broad spectrum of ways to look at the data. As you begin to understand the data, a new sense of what is emerges. You note that certain views might also help others see what you have learned. This creative expansion and awareness is what this chapter is about. The second lens catches these products and focuses them to the reader so that they receive a meaningful data story. That is what the next chapter is about. To take a practical view of each of these broad actions, I want to step through the development of a new data story.
I recently heard ...