Text is Better than Graphs

Law et al.(2005) conducted a study where they compared the decisions made by neonatal ICU nurses and physicians based on physiological data either presented in trend graphs or in text. Although participants overwhelmingly preferred the trend graph over text (29 verses 11), the appropriate decisions was made more often when data was present in text. Mean of 0.38(sd=0.14) versus mean of 0.51 (sd = 0.14) Law et al. tested physiological data as heart rate and oxygen saturation which lay themselves to being presented in graphs. You could expect that textual data is better presented in sentences and not just single words in forms.



Law, A. et al., 2005. A Comparison of Graphical and Textual Presentations of Time Series Data to Support Medical Decision Making in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing, 19(3), 183-194.

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