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Graphics in Documents - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Graphics in Documents Using Graphics to Think Preparing the graphics first helps you get started and sets out the framework of your written product Graphical Display and Scientific Inquiry “ . . .the way in which we present the data determines what can be seen in the data.”

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In documents l.jpg


in Documents

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Using Graphics to Think

Preparing the graphics first helps you get started and sets out the framework of your written product

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Graphical Display and Scientific Inquiry

  • “ . . .the way in which we present the data determines what can be seen in the data.”

    • Valiela, Doing Science, p. 183

  • Choice of graphical display can reveal new relationships among data.

    • representing the data differently can lead to new findings

  • In 1854 dr john snow made a map of deaths from the cholera epidemic in london l.jpg
    In 1854, Dr. John Snow made a map of deaths from the cholera epidemicin London.

    Example: Spatial representation of data

    Previously, data on deaths had been displayed chronologically.

    Tufte, Visual Explanations, 1997

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    Work House epidemic


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    Graphical Display epidemic

    • Snow took data normally displayed chronologically (x # of deaths each day throughout the epidemic) and graphed it spatially,

    • Spatial display convinced the authorities to shut down the Broad St. pump. From that moment, cholera seriously understood to be linked to bad water.

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    Lessons epidemic

    • Map makes quantitative comparisons visible and locates them spatially.

    • Map is appropriate context for showing cause and effect.

    • Time series chart not as effective.

    • Thinking about howbest to display the data will help you establish useful relationships among the data.

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    Graphics in Written Documents: Two Important Questions epidemic

    • When are graphics appropriate?

      • What can information display do that words alone cannot?

    • What makes a good graphic?

      • Are there relevant principles of design?

      • See works of William S. Cleveland and Edward R. Tufte

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    When are graphics appropriate? epidemic

    • To show complex data in a simplified form

      • show a lot of data in one place

    • To emphasize relationship better than can words alone

    • To help the reader remember

    • To allow parallel processing of information (visual and verbal)

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    Deciding How to Present Data epidemic

    • William Cleveland studied how accurately readers evaluate graphical cues. Rank of cues from most to least accurate perception:

      • Position along an axis

      • Length

      • Angle or slope

      • Area

      • Volume

      • Color and shade

  • Use cues that are ranked as high as possible.

  • William Cleveland, The Elements of Graphing Data, 1994

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    Principles of Information Display epidemic

    • Read the works of Edward Tufte.

      • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 1983

      • Envisioning Information, 1990

      • Visual Explanations, 1997

    • Tufte analyzes visuals displays of data to see which ones help the reader/viewer think through the problem or understand the results.

      • See article on PowerPoint in Reference list


    Charles j minard s 1861 graphic depicts napoleon s russian campaign of 1812 tufte visual display l.jpg
    Charles J. Minard’s 1861 graphic depicts Napoleon’s Russian Campaign of 1812 (Tufte, Visual Display)

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    Tufte calls Minard’s graphic “possibly the best ever constructed.”

    • Six variables are plotted:

      • size of army

      • location (latitude)

      • location (longitude)

      • direction

      • temperature

      • time (dates)

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    Column constructed.”

    Position (X)

    0 cm

    Air Sampling


    Bioreactor Packing

    25 cm

    50 cm

    75 cm

    100 cm (Air Outlet)


    Air Inlet

    Figure 5.2. Schematic of the experimental bioreactor

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    Principles of Design constructed.”

    • Keep every graphic as simple and

      uncluttered as the complexity of your

      data allows.

    • Beware the default parameters in Excel!

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    Guidelines for Labeling WORD

    • Labels are a frame . . . of reference, of orientation.

    • Label each graphic clearly with a figure or table number and a title.

      • Place the figure number and title beneath a figure (graph, chart, etc.).

      • Place the table number and title

        above a table.

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    Correct Placement of Figure Title WORD

    Figure 3. Relationship between density and temperature of air at standard atmospheric pressure. Source of data: Engineering Fluid Mechanics, 2001

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    Correct Placement of Table Title WORD

    Table 2: Example of Table with Modified Parameters

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    More Labeling Guidelines WORD

    • Label both axes. These labels are NOT optional.

    • Create a title (or a title and a caption) that draws attention to significant aspects of the graphic.

      • Give significant details either on the figure itself or in parentheses (or smaller type) after the title/caption.

        • Significant details could be experimental details (such as time of day readings taken) or source information.

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    Integrate WORD graphics with your text.

    • In the body of the document, make sure you do the following:

      • Describe everything graphed. For tables, explain column headings, at least.

      • Draw attention to important features of data. Try to include them in title too.

      • Describe conclusions drawn from the data. What’s significant about those data or findings?

    • Place graphic close to its discussion.

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    Coefficient of Thermal Expansion/Shrinkage WORD

    A low coefficient of thermal expansion indicates that the material will have minimal change in length given temperature fluctuations. Thermal coefficients for the patching materials are summarized in Table 4; as can be seen, FRP overlay has the lowest.

    Table 4. Coefficients of Thermal Expansion/Shrinkage for Patching Materials

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    Captions integrate graphics with text. WORD

    • Cleveland advocates using captions and says they should make three contributions to understanding:

      • Describe everything graphed or illustrated

      • Draw attention to important features of data

      • Describe conclusions drawn from the data.

    • Captions are not conventional in many fields.

    • At least make title more than “X vs Y.”

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    Figure 2. Destruction of Organic Contaminants by Phytodegradation

    Enzymes in plant roots break down (degrade) organic contaminants. The fragments are incorporated into new plant material.

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    Figure 2. United States Facilities with No. 2 Emissions Phytodegradation

    Source: Environmental Protection Agency, 2000,

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    Correct Labeling: PhytodegradationCite source of data

    Figure 3. Relationship between density and temperature of air at standard atmospheric pressure. Source of data: Crowe, et al. Engineering Fluid Mechanics, 2001