Measuring Graph Literacy without a Test: A Brief Subjective Assessment.

Medical Decision Making

PubMedID: 27353824

Garcia-Retamero R, Cokely ET, Ghazal S, Joeris A. Measuring Graph Literacy without a Test: A Brief Subjective Assessment. Med Decis Making. 2016;36(7):854-67.
Visual aids tend to help diverse and vulnerable individuals understand risk communications, as long as these individuals have a basic understanding of graphs (i.e., graph literacy). Tests of objective graph literacy (OGL) can effectively identify individuals with limited skills, highlighting vulnerabilities and facilitating custom-tailored risk communication. However, the administration of these tests can be time-consuming and may evoke negative emotional reactions (e.g., anxiety).

To evaluate a brief and easy-to-use assessment of subjective graph literacy (SGL) (i.e., self-reported ability to process and use graphically presented information) and to estimate the robustness and validity of the SGL scale and compare it with the leading OGL scale in diverse samples from different cultures.

Demographically diverse residents (n = 470) of the United States, young adults (n = 172) and patients (n = 175) from Spain, and surgeons (n = 175) from 48 countries.

A focus group and 4 studies for instrument development and initial validation (study 1), reliability and convergent and discriminant validity evaluation (study 2), and predictive validity estimation (studies 3 and 4).

Psychometric properties of the scale.

In about 1 minute, the SGL scale provides a reliable, robust, and valid assessment of skills and risk communication preferences and evokes fewer negative emotional reactions than the OGL scale.

The SGL scale can be suitable for use in clinical research and may be useful as a communication aid in clinical practice. Theoretical mechanisms involved in SGL, emerging applications, limitations, and open questions are discussed.