As long as I’m picking on education research papers in Science, I might as well call out the one immediately after the paper I wrote up in the previous post. This one, titled Graduate Students’ Teaching Experiences Improve Their Methodological Research Skills, is another paper whose basic premise I generally agree with– they found that graduate students who had teaching responsibilities as well as research responsibilities did a better job of writing research proposals than graduate students who only did research. From all appearances, it’s a good study, and makes a valuable point.
And yet, I have a hard time not mocking a paper that includes the following data graph:
I mean, really? You have two data points with error bars. does this really need to be presented as a graph? Let alone one playing “How to Lie With Statistics” games with the axis limits?
Wouldn’t a table be just as effective? In the space taken up by the two basically identical graphs of this form, you could’ve put a single table with all of your data, not just data on two selected subcategories of your evaluation. You could even have included a table with a detailed statistical breakdown in a convenient easy-to-read format, rather than scattering the results through the text.
But, I guess it isn’t Science-worthy if it doesn’t have a graph. Even an incredibly silly one.