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Toward a Taxonomy of Visuals in Science Communication

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Purpose: To develop and present a systematic, hierarchical taxonomy of visuals used in science communication, in order to facilitate analysis as well as selection and design of visuals.

Methods: Iterative analysis of commonly used visuals and existing typologies and selection of a classification system.

Results: A taxonomy is proposed based on Linnean principles, which distinguishes three classes of visuals based on their information and sign content; these are subdivided in orders and families. A systematic nomenclature is described.

Conclusions: Used successfully in training sessions and research, the taxonomy offers the basis for the development of comprehensive guidelines and improvements in the design and usage of visuals.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2011

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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