When handling different types of data, it can be difficult to know which type of visualisation we should use in order to get our intended message across. This is particularly the case in larger pieces of work, such as student dissertations, where the visualisation may be supporting a more complex argument or include large quantities of primary data.
The UK's National Mapping Agency, Ordnance Survey, have produced a great summay of different thematic mapping types, explaining which types of map are best-suited to different types of data.
When visualising non-spatial data, a graph or chart could be a good alternative to a map. Tableau Software have produced a white paper ' Which chart or graph is right for you?' which could help to demystify the wealth of options available. Anton Zhiyanov's Data Visualization Guide also provides advice on making good decisions when presenting information graphically.
For a wide range of other links and resources, why not take a look at this page from the British Cartographic Society which includes plenty of useful pointers.