Clashing for Cachet: Three Decades of U.S. News and World Report University Rankings
Ranking entities as complicated as universities is guaranteed to be a subjective activity. Despite this, the rankings are taken seriously by many, so I thought it would be interesting to see how the rankings have changed over the years.
Weaknesses of the VisualizationI think there are two major weaknesses to this visualization.
- The visualization tells you what is happening in the rankings, but not why it is happening.
There may not be a terribly satisfying reason to why these rankings are changing. I suspect drastic changes in ranking, such as what happened in 2000 to Cal-Tech, are due to changes in the methodology more than changes in the schools.
- The data density is pretty low.
These race-style graphics are in vogue at the moment, and I wanted to try my hand at making and improving on them. I think this is pretty decent, as it incorporates the animated race but still makes it easy to look at the overall history. However, I think I could get a lot more dimensions into the graphic. I could use glyphs instead of just university names and present more information. I may try this with a visualization that emphasizes characteristics of the schools more than just their USNWR ranks.