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Unit 11: Communicating with Data, Charts, and Graphs

11 Introduction

In every aspect of our lives, data—information, numbers, words, or images—are collected, recorded, analyzed, interpreted, and used. We encounter this information in the form of statistics too—everything from graphs of the latest home sales figures to census results, the current rate of inflation, or the unemployment rate.

Being able to make sense of data is an important skill. In Section 11.1, we will consider how to summarize a set of data by using an average value, calculated using the mean, median or mode.

In Section 11.2, we will look at how to present and understand data in tables. The focus will then move to graphs, and different types of charts that all make data easier to understand in Sections 11.3, 11.4, and 11.5. Graphs and charts are very useful for displaying the relationship between quantities quickly and in an accessible form, but these can also be used to mislead the unwary reader—so you’ll learn how to critically assess this type of information too.

Finally, in Section 11.6, you'll see some of the new types of interactive data visualizations that are becoming more common.

Practice Quiz

Check your understanding of averages and interpreting data from charts and graphs before you start by completing the Unit 11 pre quiz, then use the feedback to help you plan your study.

The quiz does not check all the topics in the unit, but it should give you some idea of the areas you may need to spend most time on. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you get some or even all of the questions wrong – it just indicates how much time you may need for this unit!

Click here for the pre quiz. [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]