Misleading Graphics: Can Decision Makers Be Affected By Their Use
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF SYSTEMS AND LOGISTICS
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This theses investigated how Air Force decision makers can be affected by misleading graphics. A literature review revealed the existence of criteria for creating high-integrity graphs, as well as style guides for formatting and procedural techniques. By violating the criteria, misleading graphs may be produced which misrepresent the underlying data. Experiments were conducted on 63 Air Force Institute of Technology short-course students. Graphs typically used in the analysis of cost performance reports were constructed in a way to violate one of the criteria for the experiments. Using a t-test, it was demonstrated that Air Force decision makers can be misled by graphs that violate the criteria at a level of significance of less than .0001. Also, a sampling of graphs from throughout Air Force Systems Command revealed that program managers and cost analysts were creating graphs that violated the criteria.
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