Sense-making of Big Data Spring Break 2013 – Visualization recognition and meaning making

November 16th, 2013 | RESEARCH

To better help museum visitors make sense of large data sets, also called “Big Data”, this study focused on the types of visual representations visitors recognize, and how they make meaning (or not) of various visuals. Individual adults and youths were shown five different data visualizations (one from each of five categories), one at a time, and asked if the visualization looked familiar and how it was read. This study found that Context and previous experience matters. Participants of all ages are familiar with a wide variety of visual displays of data. If a participant encounters a visual display of data with which they are unfamiliar, they attempt to make a connection to something with which they are familiar. When there is no context or previous history with a visual representation, participants would default to searching for clues such as title, key, and legend. When these items were not present, OR when they were unclear, participants expressed frustration.



Team Members

Indiana University, Contributor
Mary Ann Wojton, Contact, Lifelong Learning Group


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL

Related URLs

Pathways: Sense-Making of Big Data


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Computing and information science | Education and learning science | Technology
Resource Type: Reference Materials | Report
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs