Visualizing
'the space between'


Visualizing energy shifts in group interactions

On this website you will find outputs of an early-stage methodology for visualizing energy shifts in group interactions. The visualization project emerged during empirical PhD research at the University of Bristol entitled ‘Through conflict to sustainable collaboration: engaging with ‘the space between’ in cross-sector work’.

The visualizations on this site are the products of a team of three: Hen Wilkinson (PhD researcher and originator of the visualization concept), data scientist Bobby Stuijfzand and graphic designer Derek Edwards.

The process started with the systematic visualization of energy levels in four participant task groups as a way of exploring the links between verbal communication and nonverbal elements in group interaction. For more information on the methodology, click here.

To these were added laughter points as an additional layer of nonverbal interaction across the same time period, to see how they correlated to energy shifts and conflict points. For information on methodology, click here.

Once the data was assembled the team worked on the design aesthetics, in recognition of the impact of visual presentation on engagement with data.

Outputs so far include

  • a theoretically-underpinned framework to extract group dynamics from qualitative data
  • initial visualisations of four separate group interactions over five minutes, focusing specifically on conflict points in the discussions
  • interactive elements in the graphs, to allow viewers to experience the original data themselves and to access the rater scores and discussions which led to the energy lines.

Each of the four groups has a page of its own, with a final page comparing the four visualizations.


First UK Visualisation





This graph shows the energy shifts across a five-minute field of tension in the group. Engagement levels are shown on the vertical axis and the shifting group mood in the group is indicated by the colour changes on the energy line.

As you roll over the black dots on the line, a dialogue box with the group interaction at that point will appear. Each of the black dots represents a change in conversation direction or meaning.

Rater lines





This graph shows how the initial data for the energy line was reached. The energy line is shown in dark grey. By hovering over one of the faded-out lines, it will be highlighted and you can see how each of the three raters scored the meaning units for engagement and mood. Where the raters had strongly different scores, their discussions can be seen in the dialogue boxes that appear.


Second UK Visualisation

Engagement line





This graph shows the energy shifts across a five-minute field of tension in the group. Engagement levels are shown on the vertical axis and the shifting group mood in the group is indicated by the colour changes on the energy line.

As you roll over the black dots on the line, a dialogue box with the group interaction at that point will appear. Each of the black dots represents a change in conversation direction or meaning.

Rater lines





This graph shows how the initial data for the energy line was reached. The energy line is shown in dark grey. By hovering over one of the faded-out lines, it will be highlighted and you can see how each of the three raters scored the meaning units for engagement and mood. Where the raters had strongly different scores, their discussions can be seen in the dialogue boxes that appear.


First Dutch Visualisation

Engagement line





This graph shows the energy shifts across a five-minute field of tension in the group. Engagement levels are shown on the vertical axis and the shifting group mood in the group is indicated by the colour changes on the energy line.

As you roll over the black dots on the line, a dialogue box with the group interaction at that point will appear. Each of the black dots represents a change in conversation direction or meaning.

Rater lines





This graph shows how the initial data for the energy line was reached. The energy line is shown in dark grey. By hovering over one of the faded-out lines, it will be highlighted and you can see how each of the three raters scored the meaning units for engagement and mood. Where the raters had strongly different scores, their discussions can be seen in the dialogue boxes that appear.


Second Dutch Visualisation

Engagement line





This graph shows the energy shifts across a five-minute field of tension in the group. Engagement levels are shown on the vertical axis and the shifting group mood in the group is indicated by the colour changes on the energy line.

As you roll over the black dots on the line, a dialogue box with the group interaction at that point will appear. Each of the black dots represents a change in conversation direction or meaning.

Rater lines





This graph shows how the initial data for the energy line was reached. The energy line is shown in dark grey. By hovering over one of the faded-out lines, it will be highlighted and you can see how each of the three raters scored the meaning units for engagement and mood. Where the raters had strongly different scores, their discussions can be seen in the dialogue boxes that appear.