Visualisation of scientific ideas has a rich history and strong presence in modern science communication. Illustrations and photographs are engaging, and often convey a direct relationship between form and meaning which transcends discipline-specific language and jargon, freeing them from the constraints of jargon that often makes scientific text incomprehensible to non-experts. In some sciences, visualisation of concepts is the only way to convey the necessary information. Throughout a child's education, text is presented alongside pictures in almost all school subjects . Doing so supports learning of the information within the accompanying text. This carries through to later life science education, with one third to a half of modern science textbooks consisting of visualisations of some sort. Studies relating to student retention of scientific information presented in textual form have found that illustrations foster more active involvement with text, enhance information comprehension, likely through the provision of a secondary visual route to information acquisition that actively improves recall.
The CCAIRs typology
- Structured study and discussion requires a clear theoretical framework
- There's many ways you can think about visualisation in science
A comic book guide to...Efficacy of comic-book style illustrations in conveying scientific information
Working with W. Grant
- Comic or manga guides to scientific topics, such as physics or chemistry, are widespread and popular.
- There's limited research about what might make these guides popular
This project seeks to examine whether a comic book style format for visualization is indeed an effective learning tool.
Mapping the Manubrium to Memory: Visualisation style and anatomical learning
Visualisations are vital for teaching anatomy. This study aimed to examine the optimum visualisation style to enhance recall of anatomical features. We explored how different visualisation styles may impact on anatomical learning by manipulating congruence (whether the mode used for teaching matched the testing phase), and aspects of the visualisation’s appearance, including dimensionality (two dimensional or three dimensional), presence or absence of distracting information, and angle of visualisation.
Prose, panels and people: The impact of comic presentation style on procedural information learning
This study explored the efficacy of using a comic book format to teach procedural and cyclical scientific information to members of the general public.
Not just a pretty picture: Scientific fact visualisation styles, preferences, confidence and recall
This study aimed to explore the role of stylisation in visual accompaniment of scientific information presentation to an adult audience. The focus was on whether participants had a consistent preference for a particular visualisation style, and which styles were most effective in encouraging short term rote learning.