February 25, 2007

// Good visual presentation should be evocative, as is this portion of a map “Romantic and Sexual Relations” at an unnamed high school, as reported by the research office at Ohio State University. Note that 63 pairs were unconnected to anybody else, and this info was self-reported. I’m just sayin’.

I know of at least one of these maps that was drawn for a well known field station. By the members of that field station. Nodes and links indeed.

Great design, great cause

February 25, 2007

Do what you can.

Flowcharts, how do I love thee?

February 25, 2007


I haven’t used flowcharts much in my teaching or research, but this may change soon. First, there is this marvelous mashup of flowcharts with web pages to teach copyright law. Biologists have long used keys to simplify identifying critters, but I can easily imagine using flowcharts to teach, for example, the experimental results that would allow you to identify different kinds of population regulation.

Perhaps the real utility of flowcharts for graduate students may lie in the underused but powerful practice of Strong Inference. SI endorses building a logic tree when planning your research so that each experiment tests as many different hypotheses as possible. The end result is that each experiment produced maximum bang for your research buck. I am seeing more and more flowcharts in the NSF grants I review.

How would you flowchart your dissertation research?

Finally, flowcharts are effective ways of detecting patterns in otherwise seemingly inscrutable behavior.

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