Survey Format

Section 1: Demographics

  1. Gender (m/f)
  2. Age (continuous)
  3. Undergraduate student? (yes/no)
  4. Undergraduate or graduate major (fill-in)
  5. Terms remaining until expected graduation (continuous)
  6. What is the highest level math course you have taken? (fill-in)
  7. How many terms of math since the beginning of high school? (continuous)
  8. Have you ever taken a Computer Science course?
  9. If yes, how many terms of computer science have you taken?
  • Did you attend the in-class IDAM presentation? (y/n)
  • Are you color blind? (y/n)

Section 2: Saturated bar graph of Case I:

Purpose: Can people accurately interpret information presented in this visualization?
Case I:  High biophysical costs (no one cares), big socioeconomic benefits (lots of people care), few geopolitical impacts.

  • Which sphere of impact are stakeholders most concerned about? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which sphere of impact are stakeholders least concerned about? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which sphere bears the greatest costs of this dam? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which sphere is most important to stakeholders? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which of the negative socioeconomic impacts do stakeholders think of as the most important? (SE1-7: SE2)
  • Which socioeconomic impact has the greatest positive magnitude? (SE1-7: SE5)

Section 3: Ameoba diagram of Case II:

Purpose: Can people accurately interpret information presented in this visualization?
Case II:  Few biophysical impacts, big socioeconomic benefit (lots of people care), high geopolitical costs (some people care).

  • Which sphere of impact are stakeholders most concerned about? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which sphere of impact are stakeholders least concerned about? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which sphere bears the greatest costs of this dam? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which sphere is most important to stakeholders? (SE/GP/BP)
  • Which of the negative socioeconomic impacts do stakeholders think of as the most important? (SE1-7)
  • Which socioeconomic impact has the greatest positive magnitude? (SE1-7)

Section 4: Present two different dams using one visualization, then present two dams using the second visualization.

Purpose: Determine which visualization facilitates accurate comparisons between the dams.
Question included:

  • Which dam has the greatest biophysical impact?
  • In which scenario do stakeholders care most about geopolitical impacts?

Sample of students surveyed

  • Humanities – Int’l Studies, English, Languages, Education
  • Social sciences – NM Comm, Geography, Psychology, Business, Political science, Anthropology, Economics
  • Natural sciences and Engineering – Food Science, Biology, Engineering, Chemistry, Math

Survey Results

  • Students found the bar charts easier to understand than the amoeba diagrams.
  • People like up being up – increasing/benefit is up, decreasing/cost is down.
  • Once they had gained more experience with the amoeba diagram, students found it to be more informative than the bar charts.
  • Students with experience in abstractions (math) and with reading graphical displays of information more accurately extracted information from the figures.