Principles of Good Graph Design

Information

Even if the data is plotted correctly, if a graph is designed poorly it will not effectively communicate the important trends in the data.

Exercise 2.4 will allow you to deduce nine rules of graph design you should always follow when plotting data.

Lab 2 Exercises 2.4

Use the following schematic instructions to write out nine rules for designing graphs.

Schematic representation of rule Rule demonstrated by example
First graph has x-axis from 0 to 1000 and y-axis numbered from 0 to 300, with plotted points in a cluster in the bottom-left corner. Second graph shows y-axis from 0 to 60 and x-axis from 0 to 300, with the dots more clearly visible and connected by a line. ________________________

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The first graph shows numbers and data points, but does not say what each axis represents. The next graph shows the same data with the y-axis labeled response percent and the x-axis labeled time, S. ________________________

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First bar graph y-axis goes from 0 to 400, and all the bars come to around 300. Second graph has y-axis from 280 to 330, allowing the bars to show a more dramatic difference. ________________________

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Scatter plots. First graph has y-axis starting with 7 and counting by 14, and x-axis starts at 20 and counts by 90. Second graph has y-axis start at 20 and count by 20, and has x-axis start at 0 and count by 100. ________________________

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Scatter plots. First graph y-axis labels first intervals 10 and 20, and x-axis labels first intervals 50 and 100. Second graph y-axis labels intervals 0, 20, 40, 60; and x-axis is labeled 0, 100, 200, 300. ________________________

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First scatter plot draws wavy line through points so that line often peaks above a point or dips below a point. Second scatter plot connects dots with straight lines. ________________________

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First bar graph has very thin bars, and second bar graph has much wider bars. ________________________

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 First scatter plot has two sets of connected points, with the first set represented by squares and the second represented by asterisks. The second scatter plot has two sets of connected points, with one set represented by closed dots and the other set represented by open dots. ________________________

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First bar graph has each bar in a different gradient with the same color scheme. The second bar graph has each bar in a different solid color. ________________________

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