JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 552
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Education
Abstract - #300405
Title: Gaining Inzight
Author(s): Chris J. Wild*+ and Dineika Chandrananda
Companies: University of Auckland and University of Auckland
Address: Department of Statistics, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand
Keywords: statistical graphics ; graphical user interface ; statistical education ; R

iNZight ("insight" with an NZ, New Zealand, pun) is gui-driven system for statistical data exploration written in R, though the user never has to interact with R. Our desire has been to provide a tool that will actively encourage the exploration of multivariate data sets and enable emphasis to be kept almost entirely on seeing what data is saying rather than learning how to drive software. We also want to keep the data students are working with always "in their faces" to minimise abstraction. We have done these things using a drag and drop metaphor in which the software is driven by dragging the names of variables from the top of the data spreadsheet and dropping them in a small number of appropriate places. What is delivered instantly, and with almost no learning curve, is graphics (plots). To obtain numerical summaries and inferential information the user has explicitly to ask for them. Plots involving up to three variables require almost no system knowledge. Relationships involving up to six variables can be explored using only very basic plot types. We discuss pedagogical imperatives and describe system capabilities, design choices and the reasoning that led to them.

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