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Envisioning Information Lecture 2 Simple Graphs and Charts Ken Brodlie School of Computing University of Leeds Lecture Outline Preliminaries Definitions Datatypes Simple Data Presentation Graphs and charts Basic Datatypes correspond to different levels of measurement Data can be:

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envisioning information

Envisioning Information

Lecture 2

Simple Graphs and Charts

Ken Brodlie

School of Computing

University of Leeds

ENV 2006

lecture outline
Lecture Outline
  • Preliminaries
    • Definitions
    • Datatypes
  • Simple Data Presentation
    • Graphs and charts

ENV 2006

Basic Datatypes correspond to different levels of measurement

Data can be:

Categorical - labels

Numerical – numbers



No sense of order

Apples, oranges,…


Ordered in sequence

January, February, ..



Real numbers

Height of students in class


Typically whole numbers

Marks in an exam


ENV 2006

Give an example for each class in which numbers are involved…

Categorical - nominal

Categorical - ordinal

Numerical – continuous

Numerical - discrete


ENV 2006

exploratory data analysis
Pioneering figure is John Tukey

New approach to data analysis, heavily based on visualization, as an alternative to classical data analysis

See wikipedia

Two stage process:

Exploratory: Search for evidence using all tools available

Confirmatory: evaluate strength of evidence using classical data analysis

Exploratory Data Analysis

ENV 2006

simple data presentation7
Simple data tables are often presented as line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, dot graphs, histograms…

Which should we use and when?

Simple Data Presentation

ENV 2006

line graph
Fundamental technique of data presentation

Used to compare two variables

X-axis is often the control variable

Y-axis is the response variable

Good at:

Showing specific values


Trends in groups (using multiple line graphs)


Phone use

Line Graph

Students participating in sporting activities

Any critical

comments here?

Note: graph labelling is fundamental

ENV 2006

simple representations bar graph
Bar graph

Presents categorical variables

Height of bar indicates value

Double bar graph allows comparison

Note spacing between bars

Can be horizontal (when would you use this?)

Simple Representations – Bar Graph

Number of police officers

Internet use at a school

Note more space for labels

ENV 2006

dot graph
Very simple but effective…

Horizontal to give more space for labelling

Dot Graph

ENV 2006

pie chart
Pie chart summarises a set of categorical/nominal data

But use with care…

… too many segments are harder to compare than in a bar chart

Pie Chart

Should we have a long lecture?

Favourite movie genres

ENV 2006

Histograms summarise discrete or continuous data that are measured on an interval scale

No gaps if variable is continuous


Distribution of salaries

in a company

ENV 2006

scatter plot
Used to present measurements of two variables

Effective if a relationship exists between the two variables

Example taken from

NIST Handbook –

Evidence of strong

positive correlation

Scatter Plot

Car ownership by household income

ENV 2006

scatter plots in excel
The scatter plot is a fundamental tool in Excel

Chart type XY (Scatter) and subtype Unconnected Points

Scatter Plots in Excel


ENV 2006

regression line
Excel allows you to add a linear regression line (trend line)Regression Line

Remember: correlation does not imply causality… ie a relationship

exists but one is not necessarily causing the other – there may be a

third factor?

ENV 2006

tukey sum difference plot
Tukey Sum-Difference Plot

Better understanding of residuals …

ENV 2006

box plots
In some situations we have, not a single data value at a point, but a number of data values, or even a probability distribution

When might this occur?

Tukey proposed the idea of a boxplot to visualize the distribution of values

For explanation and some history, see:



Darwin’s plant study


Box Plots

M – median

Q1, Q3 – quarrtiles

Whiskers –

1.5 * interquartile range

Dots - outliers

ENV 2006

  • Thanks to Statistics Canada – an excellent web site for simple data presentation
    • http://www.statcan.ca/english/edu/power/toc/contents.htm

ENV 2006

exercise for next week
Exercise for next week
  • Understand a bit more about the merits of pie charts and bar graphs
  • Create a dataset with roughly equal numbers in each class
  • Which is best if the task is to discriminate?

ENV 2006

exercise for next week20
Exercise for next week
  • Over the next week look for examples of basic graphs
    • In newspapers, magazines or other print media
    • On news web sites or other electronic media
  • Analyse two examples
    • One should be a example where you think the use of graphics is good
    • One should be bad
  • Be ready next week to present these results to the class…

ENV 2006