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Design and Evaluation of Visualisation Techniques to Facilitate Argument Exploration

Khartabil, Dana; Collins, Christopher; Wells, Simon; Bach, Benjamin; Kennedy, Jessie


Dana Khartabil

Christopher Collins

Benjamin Bach


This paper reports the design and comparison of three visualizations to represent the structure and content within arguments. Arguments are artefacts of reasoning widely used across domains such as education, policy making, and science. An argument is made up of sequences of statements (premises) which can support or contradict each other, individually or in groups through Boolean operators. Understanding the resulting hierarchical structure of arguments while being able to read the arguments’ text poses problems related to overview, detail, and navigation. Based on interviews with argument analysts we iteratively
designed three techniques, each using combinations of tree visualizations (sunburst, icicle), content display (in-situ, tooltip) and interactive navigation. Structured discussions with the analysts show benefits of each these techniques; e.g., sunburst being good in presenting overview but showing arguments in-situ is better than pop-ups. A controlled user study with 21 participants and three tasks shows complementary evidence suggesting that a sunburst with pop-up for the content is the best trade-off solution. Our results can inform visualizations within existing argument visualization tools and increase the visibility of ‘novel and effective’ visualizations in the argument visualization community.


Khartabil, D., Collins, C., Wells, S., Bach, B., & Kennedy, J. (2021). Design and Evaluation of Visualisation Techniques to Facilitate Argument Exploration. Computer Graphics Forum, 40(6), 447-465.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 28, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 9, 2021
Publication Date 2021-09
Deposit Date Jul 16, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 10, 2022
Print ISSN 0167-7055
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 6
Pages 447-465
Keywords interaction, visualization, Text visualisation, Hybrid visualisation techniques
Public URL


Design And Evaluation Of Visualisation Techniques To Facilitate Argument Exploration (accepted version) (21.5 Mb)

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