Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology vol:33 issue:2 pages:155-174
Recent studies have shown that the interpretation of graphs is not always easy for students. In order to reason properly about distributions of data, however, one needs to be able to interpret graphical representations of these distributions correctly. In this study, we used Tversky's principles for the design of graphs to explain how 125 first-year university students interpreted histograms and box plots. We systematically varied the representation that accompanied the tasks between students to identify how the design principles affected students' reasoning. Many students displayed misinterpretations of histograms and box plots, despite the fact that they had the required knowledge an time to interpret the representations correctly. We argue that the combination of dual process theories and Tversky's design principles provides a promising theoretical framework, which leads to various possibilities for future research.