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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Ronja Langendorf, Susanne Schneider, and Pascal Klein
The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (HRD) is a fundamental representation in stellar physics. It contains information about key properties of stars and allows inferences about stellar evolution. The use of the HRD is an important disciplinary activity in astrophysics. For example, it is particularly important to have a graphical understanding of the HRD in order to understand elementary astrophysical relationships (e.g., about the luminosity, temperature, radius, and mass of stars). However, several research papers indicate that students often have difficulty interpreting the HRD, apparently due to its visual complexity, and a number of learning difficulties have been described. Yet, there is still no evidence concerning how learners actually select and extract information from the HRD when completing tasks. In this study, we examined the gaze patterns and think-aloud protocols of 35 physics students as they performed 14 open-response tasks. Benchmarking against traditional x-y diagrams shows that the HRD imposes a significantly higher cognitive load on students, particularly due to the representation of luminosity, magnitude, and spectral class. Students reported a variety of learning difficulties related to information selection and extraction, sometimes mechanistically copying procedures from typical x-y diagrams. Eye-movement analysis confirmed these learning difficulties on a procedural level and show whether the students fixated on task-relevant parts of the HRD. Based on the study results, preliminary recommendations can be made in order to create engaging learning materials relating to the HRD.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 020121
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Astronomy Education
= Education Research
- Stars
= Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Methods
- Behavior
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Communication
= Representations
- Problem Solving
= Frameworks
= Heuristics
- Research Design & Methodology
= Evaluation
= Statistics
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Reference Material
= Research study
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Professional/Practitioners
- Administrators
- Researchers
- application/pdf
- text/html
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Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121
Keywords:
HRD diagram, graph interpretation, spatial visualization
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 28, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 3, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 27, 2022
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AIP Format
R. Langendorf, S. Schneider, and P. Klein, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020121 (2022), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121).
AJP/PRST-PER
R. Langendorf, S. Schneider, and P. Klein, Extracting information from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: An eye-tracking study, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020121 (2022), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121>.
APA Format
Langendorf, R., Schneider, S., & Klein, P. (2022, September 27). Extracting information from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: An eye-tracking study. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 18(2), 020121. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121
Chicago Format
Langendorf, R, S. Schneider, and P. Klein. "Extracting information from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: An eye-tracking study." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18, no. 2, (September 27, 2022): 020121, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121 (accessed 21 June 2024).
MLA Format
Langendorf, Ronja, Susanne Schneider, and Pascal Klein. "Extracting information from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: An eye-tracking study." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18.2 (2022): 020121. 21 June 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Ronja Langendorf and Susanne Schneider and Pascal Klein", Title = {Extracting information from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: An eye-tracking study}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {18}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020121}, Month = {September}, Year = {2022} }
Refer Export Format

%A Ronja Langendorf %A Susanne Schneider %A Pascal Klein %T Extracting information from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: An eye-tracking study %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %D September 27, 2022 %P 020121 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Langendorf, Ronja %A Schneider, Susanne %A Klein, Pascal %D September 27, 2022 %T Extracting information from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram: An eye-tracking study %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %P 020121 %8 September 27, 2022 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020121


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