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Interpreting data: Boxplots and tables
This unit is concerned with two main topics. In Section 1, you will learn about another...
This unit is concerned with two main topics. In Section 1, you will learn about another kind of graphical display, the boxplot. A boxplot is a fairly simple graphic, which displays certain summary statistics of a set of data. Boxplots are particularly useful for assessing quickly the location, dispersion, and symmetry or skewness of a set of data, and for making comparisons of these features in two or more data sets. Boxplots can also be useful for drawing attention to possible outliers in a data set. The other topic, which is covered in Sections 2 and 3, is that of dealing with data presented in tabular form. You are, no doubt, familiar with such tables: they are common in the media and in reports and other documents. Yet it is not always straightforward to see at first glance just what information a table of data is providing, and it often helps to carry out certain calculations and/or to draw appropriate graphs to make this clearer. In this unit, some other kinds of data tables and some different approaches are covered.
After studying this Unit you should:
- know and be able to use the terms: Boxplots, box, whisker, upper and lower adjacent values, rate, time series, line plot.
- be aware of the idea that the general pattern of a set of data, in terms of location, dispersion and skewness, can be graphically represented in a boxplot, that boxplots can be used to provide a quick and simple comparison of data sets; that patterns in tabular data can be made clearer by leaving out unhelpful information, by including extra pieces of useful information, or by drawing appropriate graphs; and that calculating appropriate proportions and rates can help in the process of interpreting tabular data.
- Develop the statistical skill to be able to describe and compare data sets on the basis of boxplots; decide how to re-present data in a table to make any patterns clearer; decide on appropriate rates or proportions to calculate from tabular data; and decide on appropriate graphs to draw to clarify patterns in tabular data.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1.1 Boxplots
- 1.2 Producing useful tables
- 1.3: Interpreting data in table
- 1.4 Summary of Unit A2
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Interpreting data: boxplots and tables
This unit is concerned with two main topics. In Section 1, you will learn about another kind of graphical display, the boxplot. Boxplots are particularly useful for assessing quickly the location, dispersion, and symmetry or skewness of a set of data, and for making comparisons of these features in two or more data sets. The other topic, is that of dealing with data presented in tabular form. You are, no doubt, familiar with such tables: they are common in the media and in reports and other documents. It is not always straightforward to see at first glance just what information a table of data is providing, and it often helps to carry out certain calculations and/or to draw appropriate graphs to make this clearer.
This free course is an adapted extract from the Open University course M248
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th October 2013
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