Statistics: when working with GRAPHs & TABLEs

histogram.jpg When we have decided to use Graphs & Tables for supporting our arguments  –> make sure your graphs & tables are: Unambiguous (easy understood), Meaningful, Concise (simple, short), and Independent with text.

In general, graph or table should be positioned as close as possible after the first reference to it.

Write and place the citation (same format as for text) below the graph or table ( “Source: …” if exact reproduction; “Data Source: …” if we have modified the original) 


When should we use GRAPHs? ………………… Graphs are used just when we need to describe (making pictures) of our information, such as Patterns, Trends, or Relationships.

  • Graphs should be independent to the text

it means our graphs should be able to tell about something clearly without dependent on the text

  • but the text (argument) must refer to the graphs
  • TIME variable is always horisontaly ( x )
  • Make the Graphs easy to read:

– if there are more than 4 categories –> it’s easier to draw the graph Horisontally

– be ware of scaling effects –> if there is data out of layer, we can use ‘Break Graph’ =

– choose easy color –> do not use stripes!

– make simple picture –> maybe we don’t need Y line, often Grid line made confusing

  • If we want to compare 2 trends based on time, we can make secondary Y-axis

  • PIE Chart: appropriate for some different categories made up the whole

but some Problems in Pie chart: there is no exact value in the chart unless we put the number and we can not compare the problem exactly.

  • Avoid 3-D effect and ‘Chartjunk‘!!
  • Concise graphs use a minimal amount of ink!!
  • Fill the frame by adjusting minimum & maximum values of axes, as well as place legend winthin or below graph



Table is appropriate when we want to: Summarize data (including sum, Rate,…), Sort the data, Compare data, Highlight some important data comparation

– Comparing data in a table …. –> 1 column 1 variable (easy to compare and to sort it) !

– Arrange the table to suit my purpose (my argument)

– Use rate/ratios instead of just raw number

Avoid using bullet in tables

– Align text left and numbers right

– Symbol (such as $, %) just in row/column titles

Remove vertical lines!!! 🙂

Put footnotes below the table if there is note about abbreviations, assumption, etc


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