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 Canvas.

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 Canvas.

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. 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 to help you create the ACH table that is not directly intended to be ACH software. For example, using Excel is allowed, but software like ACH2.0,, or other ACH software is not allowed. As for the analysis, feel free to use any tool that you find helpful. Please turn in your final ACH table, and your 2-paragraph writeup digitally on Canvas (pdf).

Your dataset is a collection of wine reviews. The readme file describes what each variable/column means. Your task is to help provide evidence for the age old debate of “who (what country and vineyard) makes the best wine”. While this may sound simple, remember that “best” is tricky to define. Do you mean cheapest? highest rated? best by some subjective description of the review description? How about best “bang for your buck” (meaning the wine may not be the best, but for the money, it’s really good)? Your writeup and ACH table should be used to present your results in a way that holistically comes up with a decision, and supports it accordingly.

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 (or references in the readings we’ve covered). 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. Please upload your pdf to Canvas.

Panel Presentations

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

Team sizes are 2 people (can be 3 with instructor approval). Your team can be made up of 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 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 (or human-centered data analysis more generally)? How does it relate to other readings we’ve talked about in class so far (if applicable)?
  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) Show videos or demos of tools or other digital content corresponding to the paper that will help in the class discussion.

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.

Reading Summaries

For each day where a reading or video should be read before the course, you will be required to submit a reading summary. These count towards your participation grade (see the Syllabus). The summaries are short (between 300-350 words). They should address these topics:

  • What do you think the strengths of this paper/video are?
  • What do you think are some aspects of this paper/video fell short or could have improved?
  • (If applicable) How does it compare to other readings in the course?

Each summary is due before the start of class. These will be uploaded to Canvas. You are allowed to drop your lowest 2 grades (including not doing a summary).