Assignments and Panel Presentations

Homework Assignments (HW)

The deadline to submit your work is by the start of class on the day they are due. Unless otherwise described, the submissions must be submitted to t-square.

HW1 – What makes data analysis complex?
In 1 page (single spaced, 12 pt. font), describe what makes analysis complex? Be sure to cite at least 3 readings covered in class up to this point to help make your claim. Be sure to include a discussion on the information that studies have presented so far. Be sure to include at least 3 reasons why analysis is complex, and use the reading to back up your claims. The goal of this assignment is to synthesize the reading and discussion we have had in the first part of the course. What are analytic techniques that have been developed to try and ease this process of analysis?

Remember, this is a hard limit of 1 page, so ensure that your points are made precisely and accurately. Your ability to integrate the readings as citations to substantiate your arguments is an important part of your grade. Please submit your pdf to t-square.

HW2 – Create an ACH Table
We have discussed in class what an ACH (Analysis of Competing Hypotheses) Table is. This assignment will have you create one. Using the fictitious intelligence analysis (text) data on t-square, perform the sensemaking task of finding any suspicious activity that someone should investigate further (i.e., hypotheses), and why (i.e., evidence). You will turn in the ACH table, as well as a short, 2-paragraph description of what your final findings are. You will be graded based on the ability for your ACH table to support your decision and findings in your write up. Also, your ACH table will be evaluated based on criteria including: Did you correctly score your evidence? Did you catalog your hypotheses? Do you have a set of exhaustive hypotheses – where only one can be true? Did you properly check the diagnosticity of your evidence?

You may use any software that is not directly intended to be an ACH software. For example, using Excel is allowed, but software like ACH2.0,, or other ACH software is not allowed. Please turn in your final ACH table, and your 2-paragraph writeup digitally on t-square (pdf).

HW3 – Capturing, Interpreting, and Visualizing User Interaction
In 2 pages (single spaced, 12 pt. font), give an overview/summary of how user interaction has been captured, interpreted/analyzed, and visualized in the visual analytics research community. Use and cite at least 6 of the readings we’ve covered in class. Think about categories or trends that have emerged. How would you categorize the approaches so far? What defines your categories? What areas are open to further research? Further, why is it so important to analyze user interaction logs? What is analytic provenance, and what makes it important?

Remember, this is a hard limit of 2 pages, so ensure that your points are made precisely and accurately. You ability to integrate the readings as citations to substantiate your arguments is an important part of your grade.


Panel Presentations

Your group panel presentations will be based on the topic for the day listen in the schedule. On this day, your group is expected to present the material (reading, video, etc.) for that day, and lead a discussion among the class. Each member of the group is expected to participate in the presentations and leading of the discussion. How you divide up this, is up to you (e.g., divide the presentation, divide leading the discussion, …).

Team sizes are 3 or 4. Your team can have the same members as your group project, but it doesn’t have to be the same. In many cases, it might make more sense for you to pick a panel group that’s made up of students who have similar interests since you’re going to present on a single topic/paper. For your group, diverse backgrounds of team members usually make for better projects.

For the presentations, aim for ~20 minutes worth of presentation on the material. The remainder of each class should be reserved for discussion (and when needed, instructor comments). Here is a list of content you should include:

  1. Give an overview of the paper, including:
    1. What were the main contributions of the work?
    2. Who were the authors, what are their backgrounds?
    3. What are the research questions this work tries to answer?
    4. What methods were used to explore these research questions?
    5. How does this work relate to visual data analysis? How does it relate to other readings we’ve talked about in class so far?
  2. What worked really well about this paper/work (strengths)? What are some areas of improvement?
  3. What do you see as valuable future work based on what was written?
  4. Provide a list of at least 4 questions that should start the discussion in class.
  5. (when available) videos or demos of tools or other digital content corresponding to the paper

The entire class is expected to read the material for each class, not just the panel group! Panels will introduce and present the material as a refresher, but each of you are expected to read the material to be prepared for discussion. Attendance is a significant part of your grade. If you attend class and participate in the discussion, you will get full credit. If you show up and browse the internet on your laptop, you will not. If the panels ask you a question about the work (which they should) and you can’t answer the question, you will lose points. In general, I promise you that you will get more out of the course if you do the readings. Also, the discussion will be more fun if the entire course reads the papers.