Scientific storytelling using visualization

Kwan-Liu Ma, Isaac Liao, Jennifer Frazier, Helwig Hauser, Helen Nicole Kostis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

61 Scopus citations


Scientists frequently tell stories using visualizations of scientific data, in the process of disseminating findings to peers and the general public. However, techniques and methods for effective scientific storytelling have received little attention so far. This article explores how literary and theatrical narrative conventions can inform the design and presentation of visualizations, and discusses the challenges of adapting scientific visualizations for broader audiences. It also summarizes recent workshops' findings on the role of storytelling in visualizations, and presents several examples of successful scientific-storytelling production teams. The conclusion is that scientific storytelling deserves greater support and recognition by the visualization community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6111347
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Computer Graphics and Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2012



  • AniViz
  • computer graphics
  • Exploratorium
  • graphics and multimedia
  • information visualization
  • scientific storytelling
  • scientific visualization
  • storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software

Cite this

Ma, K-L., Liao, I., Frazier, J., Hauser, H., & Kostis, H. N. (2012). Scientific storytelling using visualization. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 32(1), 12-19. [6111347].