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ERIC Number: ED346150
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Graph Interpretation: A Translation Problem?
Dibble, Emily; Shaklee, Harriet
To study how the organization of information affects the way that information is interpreted, a total of 404 undergraduates in two studies (151 and 253 students, respectively) solved statistical reasoning problems based on data presented in a variety of types of graphs and tables. When assessing relative probabilities, students were equally successful at answering questions regardless of the data display type. When making data-based causal inferences, accuracy decreased and students were quite sensitive to differences in the data display. In the causal inference study, data presented in percentages produced more accurate responses than did data presented in frequencies; graphs elicited better problem-solving strategies than did contingency tables; and pie charts yielded the most consistently high accuracy of all the display types. Results support the claims that graph interpretation is distinct from graph decoding, and that the graph interpretation skill is not simply a function of the graph (or table) type, but rather is a complex interaction between the data display format, the type of problem to be solved, and the problem solver's facility with the reasoning underlying the particular problem type. Results therefore suggest that a major source of difficulty in graph and table interpretation lies in the translation of both the problem and the data display into appropriate and compatible mental representations. Numerous figures and tables present study findings, and there is a nine-item list of references. (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A