Investigating critical sense in the interpretation of media graphs
This research explores elements and processes involved in interpretation of media graphs. The investigation was comprised of a literature review and a collection of empirical data. The literature review revealed a lack of qualitative evidence related to the complex relationships between elements and processes which comprise the interpretation of media graphs. This study explores the interpretation of media graphs by primary student teachers who would be involved in teaching about graphing. The main study was composed of two complementary datasets: questionnaires and interviews, which allowed an interplay between qualitative and quantitative data. 218 undergraduate and PGCE student teachers from Britain and Brazil responded to a questionnaire with items related to individual details, reading background and media graph tasks. 13 volunteers gave interviews which explored three types of questions: reading the data, reading between the data and reading beyond the data. The interviews also recalled the questionnaire responses. The data analysis of the questionnaires was software based, and a micro analysis approach was developed with the data from the interviews. The analyses of data gave evidence for the discussion about the notion of critical sense in graphing. It was concluded that critical sense in interpretation of media graphs is related to the mobilisation and balance of several aspects, such as: mathematical knowledge, contextual reference, personal experience and affective exhibition. The discussion of the results might help the reflection about teaching and learning of graphing in ways that will support the development of critical sense.