Before developing a formal proposal, members of our team examined the viability of a multi-method approach to the examination of visualization activity at a much smaller scale. This pilot study evaluated students’ processing of image- and animation-based chemistry presentations. Eye tracking data were collected in combination with interview protocols and question-based testing to probe students’ use of visualizations during chemistry problem solving. An important finding from the work was that the mixed methods approach provided an informative analysis of participants’ attention to and consideration of visualization content during attempts to answer chemistry questions. Overall, the data served to demonstrate the utility of coupling eye tracking with interviews to assess moment-by-moment processing, and of the potential for utilizing a larger-scale, multi-method approach to consider the contributions of individual differences during chemistry visualization experiences.
We hope to generate a set of guidelines in the design of chemistry, and more generally scientific, visualizations for undergraduate chemistry students.