School of Computing

A comparison of the effectiveness of a dichotomous key and a multi-access key to woodlice

David Morse, G.M. Tardival, and J. Spicer

Technical Report 14-96*, University of Kent, Computing Laboratory, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, August 1996.


The efficiency, accuracy and usability of a multiaccess key, a paper based dichotomous key and a computer based version of the same were compared. All three identification aids covered the same group of woodlice, using comparable information. The keys were evaluated by first year Biology undergraduates at Sheffield University.

Students using a computer based method were slower to reach an identification than those using the paper key. The number of correct identifications was similar for the three keys. Students were more confident of identifications made using the hypertext key but this identification was slightly more likely to be wrong than those made using the other two keys. Students found the computer based keys easier to use, but suggested a number of improvements to them.

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Bibtex Record

author = {David Morse and G.M. Tardival and J. Spicer},
title = {A Comparison of the Effectiveness of a Dichotomous Key and a Multi-Access Key to Woodlice},
month = {August},
year = {1996},
pages = {182-196},
keywords = {determinacy analysis, Craig interpolants},
note = {},
doi = {},
url = {},
    address = {University of Kent, Canterbury, UK},
    hensa_abstractfilename = {pub/misc/ukc.reports/comp.sci/abstracts/14-96},
    hensa_ftpaddress = {},
    hensa_reportfilename = {pub/misc/ukc.reports/comp.sci/reports/},
    institution = {University of Kent, Computing Laboratory},
    number = {14-96*},

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