SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Spence, I. (2005). No humble pie: The origins and usage of a statistical chartJournal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics30, 353–368.

Abstract: William Playfair’s pie chart is more than 200 years old and yet its intellectual origins remain obscure. The inspiration likely derived from the logic diagrams of Llull, Bruno, Leibniz, and Euler, which were familiar to William because of the instruction of his mathematician brother John. The pie chart is broadly popular but--despite its common appeal--most experts have not been seduced, and the academy has advised avoidance; nonetheless, the masses have chosen to ignore this advice. This commentary discusses the origins of the pie chart and the appropriate uses of the form.

Journal Article 2: Hilton, N. Z., Ham, E., Nunes, K. L., & Rodrigues, N. C., Frank, C., & Seto, M. C. (2017). Using graphs to improve violence risk communicationCriminal Justice and Behavior, 44, 678–694.

Abstract: We examined the use of graphs as an aid to communicating statistical risk among forensic clinicians. We first tested four graphs previously used or recommended for forensic risk assessment among 442 undergraduate students who made security recommendations about two offenders whose risk differed by one actuarial category of risk for violent recidivism (Study 1). Effective decision making was defined as actuarially higher risk offenders being assigned to greater security than lower risk offenders. The graph resulting in the largest distinction among less numerate students was a probability bar graph. We then tested this graph among 54 forensic clinicians (Study 2). The graph had no overall effect. Among more experienced staff, however, decisions were insensitive to actuarial risk in the absence of the graph and in the desirable direction with the addition of the graph. Further research into the benefit of graphs in violence risk communication appears viable.