Back to browse results
Using a Chord Diagram to Visualize Dynamics in Contraceptive Use: Bringing Data Into Practice
Authors: Amy Finnegan, Saumya S. Sao, and Megan J. Huchko
Source: Global Health: Science and Practice, 7(4): 598-605; DOI: 10.9745/GHSP-D-19-00205
Topic(s): Contraception
Family planning
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: DEC 2019
Abstract: We applied a novel approach to visualizing contraceptive histories from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) contraceptive calendar to elucidate patterns of contraceptive switching and discontinuation (e.g., “churn” in contraceptive use across 2 points in time). Taking the contraceptive calendar from the 2014 Kenya DHS, we used R, an open source statistical programming platform, and the chorddiag package to create interactive chord diagrams to visualize contraceptive use trajectories, including switching and discontinuation, for all contraceptive types queried in the DHS. We present screenshots from the interactive version. We also tested the usefulness of our chord diagram with potential users, including family planning researchers and advocates. Chord diagrams are visually appealing and provide users with the ability to investigate unique patterns in contraceptive discontinuation using publicly available data from the DHS. After receiving a brief orientation to a chord diagram, users found the chord diagram easy to understand and manipulate. The chord diagram is a potentially powerful way for family planning researchers, advocates, and program managers to visualize women’s contraceptive trajectories and provides insights into the churn in contraceptive use between 2 discrete time periods.