How data visualization can improve analytical thinking in cross-national crime research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cross-national criminology is naturally embedded in spatial and historical contexts, but cross-national crime researchers rarely employ data visualization techniques to illustrate relationships built in time and space. In this paper, the author argues that data visualization techniques, if employed following sound principles of analytical design, can facilitate data analysis, causal reasoning, and theoretical development. This paper reanalyzes data from a cross-national analysis of homicide rates in 34 nations from 1956–1998 in order to demonstrate the value of data visualization for cross-national criminology. Using two data visualization techniques – mapping and sparklines – the author argues that how we see the data affects how we think about data. This re-presentation of data shows new patterns that were not apparent in the original analysis and encourages further theoretical thinking. The author concludes that data visualization techniques provide additional tools for cross-national crime researchers to better incorporate space and time in their analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, © 2014 School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University.


  • crime mapping
  • cross-national
  • data visualization
  • homicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'How data visualization can improve analytical thinking in cross-national crime research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this