Collecting research and reporting it in an infographic format is an ideal way to engage and inform your audience. But the infinite nature of information can make the process of creating a research infographic feel overwhelming.
Building an effective research infographic that empowers your audience with knowledge can be time-consuming. The good news is there are many tried-and-true methods of making the process simple and easy to replicate for future research infographics.
Whether your research consists of data or informational content, research infographics are vital tools for the average marketer, academic or leader. It’s just one of many possible types of business infographics, but research infographics are especially useful for both internal and external communication.
Follow this step-by-step process to develop and present your findings in a research infographic with Venngage’s Infographic Maker.
Want to learn more about other types of infographics? Read our blog on the 9 types of infographics or watch the video below:
Click to jump ahead:
Step 1: Do the research
(If you already have your research findings, great job, you’re ahead of the game. Skip to the next step.)
The first step in this process is, of course, the most important. That’s because, in order to create an effective infographic, you must start with a good foundation. That means doing research to reveal interesting, surprising or important concepts, information and statistics.
There’s no single way to go about this, as this step in the process depends on a variety of factors that will be unique not only to the topic at hand but also to the audience for the research infographic.
Some infographics rely heavily on quantitative research, which is a fancy way of saying data. Some focus instead on qualitative research, which is descriptive or explanatory information. And others may combine the two.
Let’s look at a few examples that drive home these differences.
This infographic is informational (qualitative). While there are some dollar amounts listed, the numbers themselves are not relevant to understanding the story.
This market research infographic is entirely quantitative, meaning it uses data alone to report its findings. The only text included comes in the form of headings and labels.
This research infographic mixes the two types of information, with knowledge-based and numbers-based content combining to tell one overall story.
How do you know which types of research to use?
Often, the choice between quantitative and qualitative information comes down to the audience for your research infographic. If the people reading the content will already have some basis for understanding the topic, then you don’t need much qualitative content.
If, on the other hand, you’ll need to explain concepts to your readers, general facts can be helpful.
This data-heavy infographic is designed to appeal to fans of the TV show “Game of Thrones,” and as a result, it makes certain assumptions about the level of knowledge readers will have.
Basic facts about the show, its characters or its background aren’t necessary because one assumes that if a person is reading the infographic, they have already watched or at least heard of the show.
The purpose of this infographic, on the other hand, is to broadly explain a topic, and one assumes that the reader does not have any existing knowledge about the health conditions that are treated by neurologists.
Another take on this research infographic would be to share detailed statistics about some or all of these conditions, but that would only be successful if the reader already understood basic concepts about brain health.
Step 2: Organize the information
Once you’ve gathered or developed the information you’ll use to inform your research infographic, the next step is to organize the information into an outline so you can determine if gaps exist in your research.
It’s helpful to do this in a word-processing tool like Microsoft Word or Google Drive, but depending on your content, hand-writing an outline would work, too. In your outline, note if data will be included and, if so, where it will come from (Excel, Google, etc.).
Regardless of the type of research that’s informing your infographic, it’s good to think of it as having a beginning, middle and end:
- In the beginning, which could be as brief as the title, you’ll set up the topic of the infographic. This could go beyond a title and include a short introductory paragraph.
- The middle is the meat of your infographic, though it won’t always actually be in the middle of your page, depending on the layout. But either way, the middle consists of all the facts, figures and content that will tell the story.
- The end consists of what exactly you want to leave the reader with. Typically, infographics conclude with a call to action, but for some research infographics, the end may consist of study disclosures or contact information, as in the example below.
If you find your information lacking, do some more research. But don’t worry, because you’ll have more chances to make sure your story is complete in later steps.
Step 3: Create a structure
Once you have your information organized into a basic outline, now is the time to create the structure that will allow you to translate words on a page into a beautiful, professional-looking design.
In some cases, you can simply expand upon your existing outline, but you may prefer to create a new document. Both are good methods, so do whichever works for you.
It’s in this step that you’ll want to flex your writing muscles, as all of the words and content that you’ll use in your infographic will need to be created here.
Write a clever title (if that’s right for your content) and write out every other bit of wording that you’ll need, including section headings, labels, chart titles and more. Decide if you’ll use data visualization for any quantitative information and which types you plan to use.
If you’re using a template, such as the one above, much of this step is already done for you, but if not, begin to create a mental picture of what your infographic will look like and how your audience will read it.
With that picture in mind, take a step back (literally; microbreaks are crucial for staying mentally sharp) and think about whether you’ve told the story well enough on paper.
Revision is the key to good creative work, so once you get to what you think is the end, go back through and tighten wording, simplify concepts or eliminate unnecessary elements until you’ve arrived at the minimum number of words needed to tell your story.
Step 4: Design the infographic
This is our favorite step, of course, but we also know it’s the most intimidating for the average person. If you’re using a premade template with Venngage’s Infographic Maker, this step is simple and intuitive.
This short tutorial video explains in clear steps how you can create an infographic with Venngage:
Regardless of the tool you’re using to create your infographic design, you’ll need to have your content handy, as you will find it helpful to refer back to it, making sure the ideal flow you created on the page is being translated into the design.
Populate your charts with your data by importing it from Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets directly into Venngage’s Infographic Maker, choose fonts, color palettes and icons and move elements around the page until you’re satisfied.
Again, we recommend taking a break, maybe a long one, before you return to your work to edit it.
Step 5: Refine and perfect your work
Once you’re satisfied with the basic design of your research infographic, it’s now time to refine the colors, font choices and other visual elements to ensure you’ve got the style that will appeal to your audience.
This research infographic, for example, uses a black-grey-white color palette and bold fonts as it mixes together informational content with data. Because the color palette is simple, a very clear, almost retro feel is obvious.
With a few tweaks, though, that austere design could be livened up with brighter colors, icons and more modern font choices. Both are effective, but the right choice will come down to which best serves the audience.
Research infographic template examples
Now that you understand the basic process of creating a research infographic, let’s get your creative juices flowing by checking out some examples and exploring how they could be customized for your needs.
This simple informational infographic would be ideal for any qualitative research infographic in which it’s helpful to have readers follow a specific informational flow. The boxes in the center act as an arrow that pulls the eye down the page, and color-coded content keeps everything separated.
This research process infographic example would be ideal for explaining the steps in any marketing campaign or research project. Changing up colors and icons would help translate it from medicine to other industries.
Getting sign-off for campaigns (and budgets) often means showing a research process in advance, and this research proposal infographic can be one way of illustrating the timeline of a proposed project or marketing campaign.
This informational template could be used to create a research methods infographic that establishes the background of a project as well as the findings that resulted. Such a template could easily translate into market research or business strategy.
This research report infographic is an ideal method for illustrating a project brief, including the purpose, methods and research required to complete the task. The length could be customized depending on the resources you would plan to use.
This market research infographic uses a simple template to reveal some key insights about survey participants and is ideal for quick-hit research infographics.
Research infographic FAQ
Do you have questions about research infographics? We’ve got answers.
How do I do research for an infographic?
To do research for an infographic, identify sources that will have the information you need by doing web searches of the topic. If you’re looking for data for your infographic, use “topic + statistics” or a similar query. Be sure to note all your sources, including the URLs, especially for any data.
What type of research is presented best in an infographic?
Infographics are excellent venues for many types of research, including both qualitative and quantitative research. For marketers, research into customer data, pain points and buyer behavior are all excellent topics to mine.
How do you present research in infographics?
Research that’s informational in nature, meaning it describes a topic without using numbers, is best presented in an infographic with text as well as icons, photos and other visual elements to help illustrate it. Quantitative research, or data, is best visualized using graphs, charts and maps.
Learn how you can pick the right charts or graphs for your data:
How do I make an infographic from a research paper?
To make an infographic from a research paper, first, create an outline that follows the basic structure of the research paper. Then fill in that outline using content, information or data referenced in the research paper and put the information into a layout that flows logically.
In summary: Keep your audience in mind, organize your information and get creative
While we’ve explored one particular process for creating a research infographic today, there are as many valid ways as there are good infographic designers. But when it comes to translating research into the infographic form, it’s crucial to remember that your primary goal is serving the audience.
That means you may fall in love with a particular data point during the research process, but if it doesn’t help the audience grasp the point you’re trying to make, then it doesn’t belong in that particular story.
Research infographics are far from boring or visually unappealing, and even when they don’t have the benefit of eye-catching data visualization, research infographics can engage and inform your audience in a way few other pieces of content could hope to do.
Start creating your research infographic for free with Venngage’s easy-to-edit templates and drag-and-drop editors.