EMJ SERIES ON STATISTICS AND METHODS Part IV: Presenting and Summarizing Data Using Graphical Tools

Sileshi Lulseged, Sanni Ali, Girmay Medhin



Graphs are a way to present data in visual form and if properly prepared can be a powerful way in which to convey statistical information. Graphs are a useful tool for displaying many types of data, and one of the easiest ways to see relationships between variables and/or compare numbers. To ensure that they are easy to interpret, graphs need to be presented in a way that enables them to stand-alone. They should be clutter free and use appropriate titles, legends, axis titles and footnotes. There are a range of different types of graphs that can be used. Care should be taken to ensure that the type of graph chosen is appropriate for the type of data that is being plotted. This article presents a brief overview of the most common types of graphs- It provides guidelines on how to create meaningful, easy to read and well-formatted graphs that are commonly used, including histograms, frequency polygon, line graphs, scatter plots, bar charts, and pie charts. It also highlights the design and presentation of components of a graphs - titles,  axis  labels, legends  and  footnotes, and appropriate  representation  of  both  axes,  scale  and error.


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