The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
Data charts are used in many magazines, newspapers and official reports. Data journalism is on the rise. Big data is a familiar buzz word. And yet the public in general often does not have an easy way to explore the data and statistics that are thrown at them to justify a particular argument.
The iChart (Interactive Exploration of Data Charts) eSTEeM project aims to contribute to the development of tools that allow users (and students in particular) to explore data sets in an interactive and simple way, without the learning curve associated to the professional statistical software packages.
In particular, the project has delivered iScatter, a prototype software that can be used across a range of disciplines and contexts because it produces a widely used chart type (points in a two dimensional space) for a widely used platform (a web browser).
In particular, iScatter reads multivariate data (i.e. where each data point is characterised by two or more attributes) exported from an spreadsheet, and displays it as an interactive scatterplot or bubble chart (a scatterplot that additionally maps the area of circles to a third attribute) within a web page. iScatter can show subsets of the data in different colours and can compute common statistics (median, maximum, upper quartile, standard deviation, etc.) on each subset, to make comparisons possible. Most of the statistics can be shown visually through a reference line. To avoid cluttering, information is only displayed on demand,