The effect of graphical format and instruction on the interpretation of three-variable bar and line graphs.This miniproject is complete.
The project aims to test a recent finding by Peebles and Ali (2009) that people interpreting graphical representations of three-variable 'interaction' data typically found in undergraduate psychology courses are significantly more likely to misinterpret or fail to interpret the data using line graphs than bar graphs.
An experiment will be conducted in which participants first receive computer-based instruction on the correct interpretation of bar or line graphs and subsequently have their knowledge tested. The study will shed light on the cognitive and perceptual processes involved in graph interpretation and what effect, if any, that training has on previously observed performance differences.
Depending on the results, the implications of the study would be either to present such data to undergraduate students as bar graphs or to provide explicit training in line graph interpretation. In the latter case, the study will provide a valuable insight into the nature of the instruction and knowledge required to overcome the difficulties associated with line graphs previously found.
At the end of the project the instructional software will be made freely available directly over the internet to anyone who wishes to use it and will be improved and extended over time to become a comprehensive teaching resource for instruction in graphical reasoning, informed by cognitive theory and rigorous empirical study.
A final report from this project
is available together with the following materials and instructions
for their use:-
Bar graph presentation
; Line graph presentation
; Presentation notes
; Bar graph questionnaire
; Line graph questionnaire
; Bar graph questionnaire 2
; Line graph questionnaire 2
; Interactive graph tutorial (HEAPN_pre_loader.swf)
; Graph tutorial (HEAPN_flash-presentation.zip) ([14.3 MB]Funding:
July 2009Contact: David Peebles
, Behavioural and Social Sciences,
University of Huddersfield,