The Potential of Alluvial Diagrams for Advancing Educational Research
by Bradley W. Davis & Erin Anderson - July 02, 2020
Background/Context: From policy makers to parents, stakeholders in education come from a wide variety of preparatory and experiential backgrounds. These potential consumers of research are often inundated with information while short on time. Therefore, it is necessary to consider novel means of conveying research.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this article is to illustrate the potential for alluvial diagrams to expand the impact and accessibility of educational research.
Research Design: We provide two illustrative examples using different units of analysis and treatments of time. In the first example, educator turnover is measured at the level of individual teachers, and time is measured in years after start of career. For our second example, school accountability ratings are measured at the campus level, and time is measured in academic years. Within each example, we demonstrate alluvial diagramming’s capacity to explore education policy.
Conclusions/Recommendations: We conclude our article by discussing additional, potential applications of alluvial diagrams, as well as the implications for increased use of the technique in educational research. Alluvial diagrams leverage visual learning by succinctly conveying a large amount of information and emphasizing trends in these data through appealing data visualization.
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