This article explores the proposition that the appropriate use of suitable forms of graphic communication can improve the formulation and presentation of hypotheses in quantitative social science research. The creative nature of scientific diagrams is discussed and the technological advances in computer graphic media are seen as part of a ‘visual revolution’ which is markedly changing not only the way we see things but also the way we think and do things today. Brief historical views on the use of hypotheses and diagrammatic languages in science are given. The restricted use of graphic communication tools in social research academic documents is discussed and the importance of using well-designed data graphics in the production and transmission of scientific knowledge is highlighted. Hypotheses are conceptualised and their importance within social research is emphasised. A methodological approach for formulating hypotheses graphically is proposed based on the use of three types of language: notation, statement (ordinary language) and diagram. Some criteria are suggested for the selection of diagram type dependent on the related variables. Several examples are given covering the different models proposed.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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