Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Science

First Advisor

Stephanie M. Gardner

Committee Member 1

Nancy Pelaez

Committee Member 2

Edward Bartlett

Committee Member 3

Signe Kastberg


Creating effective graphical representations of biological data is an essential component in the practices of science and involves engaging concepts and skills of quantitative literacy. With undergraduate biology students increasingly involved in scientific inquiry and experimentation, they are faced with the task of choosing and creating appropriate graphical representations of their data to communicate their findings. However, difficulties with graph choice and construction that were previously documented in literature, still exist today at both the K-12 and undergraduate levels. The purpose of this dissertation is to understand the reasoning involved behind choosing certain graph types and the process that occurs during graph construction, and to design and validate instructional materials to improve graphing skills.