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The analysis of quantitative data and its display in visual formats to explore patterns and communicate the findings of experiments and observational studies are essential practices in biology. However, creating effective and appropriate displays of data is a multi-faceted and reflective task. It requires knowledge of and reasoning with relevant concepts of the biological system under study, methodologies and measurements, mathematics/statistics, and visualizations.
There is growing body of work from the learning sciences providing us with insights into how people learn; and from Discipline Based Education Research (DBER) we know what discipline-specific difficulties students face. However, it is quite surprising that relatively little of this understanding has made its way into the design of science and engineering curricula offered at most colleges and universities.