

Graphical Representation of Data 

Graphical Representation of Data
Introduction
 Any data before they are analyzed by statistical methods have to be arranged
and displayed in a manner that is informative and attractive. Tabular representation
is one form of doing it. But for those who do not have an affinity for numbers, tables
are not as attractive. Graphic or diagrammatic presentation of data adds a pictorial
effect to what would otherwise be just a mass of figures. A major advantage of these
representations is that they have more appeal especially to a layman as they communicate
information visually. For this reason graphs are often used in newspapers, magazines
and businesses around the world. As features of data become visible at a glance in a graph,
one can study easily the fluctuation of data and hence know the correlation between two or
more sets of data, which in turn helps in forecasting.
Commonly used forms
The important aspects include providing a selfexplanatory title, size and proportion, color
shades, necessary footnotes, source table and the index. The most commonly used graphical or
diagrammatical forms for representation of data are: 
 Pictograph
 StemandLeaf Plot
 Line graph
 Bar Graph
 Circle Graph
 Box and Whisker Plot
 Histogram
 Frequency polygon
 Ogive curve
Pictograph
This is a very common diagram used by advertisers in which appropriate pictures are drawn with
sizes proportional to the magnitudes of the observations.
Example of Pictograph
The pictograph shows the number of varieties of apples stored at a supermarket.
From the pictograph it can be understood that the number of Red Delicious apples stored is 30.
StemandLeaf Plot
The stemandleaf plot is used to plot the frequency with which certain classes of values occur
It is an arrangement used to display numerical data in order.
Example of a StemandLeaf plot:
This stemandleaf plot shows the number of shrubs collected by each student
The stemandleaf plot shows that two students have collected equal number of shrubs, that is 21.
Line graph
This graph shows the data against time, which could be of any measure such as hours, days, weeks, months or years.
Example of a Line graph:
This line graph shows the circulation of a magazine (in thousands) in the first quarter of a year.
In the second quarter of the year the circulation of the magazine was 100,000.
Bar graph
A bar graph is a pictorial representation of numerical data, which makes use of a number of rectangular bars of uniform width with equal spacing between them. A bar graph is appropriate for comparing data in which observations corresponds to different categories.
Example of a Bar graph:
This bar graph displays the number of birthdays of students in each month.
As per the bar graph, birthday of 4 students fall in the month of February.
Circle graph (Pie chart)
This graph is drawn using circle with areas proportional to the magnitudes of the observations.
Circle graphs are generally used to represent data as a part of whole.
Example of a Circle graph:
This circle graph displays the annual expenditure of a software company
The circle graph shows that the annual expenditure of the software company for
education & training is $20 millions.
BoxandWhisker Plot
Boxandwhisker plots depict the smallest observation, lower quartile, median, upper
quartile and largest observation of a given data. They even help in identifying the
outlier of the given set of data.
Example of a BoxandWhisker plot:
The following table shows the heights of mountains in U.S.
Example of a BoxandWhisker plot:
The boxandwhisker plot for the given data is given below.
Histogram
The histogram is a graphical representation of a continuous frequency distribution in which
vertical rectangles are erected over the corresponding class intervals without leaving any gap amongst them.
Example of a Histogram:
This histogram indicates the number of employees of a company under different age groups.
From the graph, we can observe that the number of employees under the age group 2024 is 5.
Frequency polygon)
Joining the midpoints of the rectangles of a histogram by straight lines makes a frequency polygon.
It shows the outline of a data pattern vividly.
Example of a Frequency Polygon:
This frequency polygon shows the fluctuation in points scored by a team in a basketball game.
The frequency polygon shows that the team had scored 3 points more frequently
Ogive curve
The curve drawn by plotting points with the upper (lower) boundaries of classes as
X coordinates and the corresponding less than (greater than) frequencies as
Ycoordinates and joining these points by a smooth curve starting from (ending at) the
lower (upper) bound of the first (last) class is called a less than (greater than) ogive.
These ogives enable us to know how many observations are above or below a certain value.
Example of Ogive curve:
This ogive curve shows the distribution of the weekly wages (in $) of workers in a factory.
The ogive curve shows that the number of workers earning weekly more than $600 is 30.
Additional Links for Graphical Representation
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 Click here for Mathematics Dictionary


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