There are various ways to present data. Each has its own advantages and is ideal for specific types of data such as numerical and categorical data.
We can easily collect, organise and present data in a simple and easy to understand way by putting it into a table. This may also help later on when you want to construct a graph from the data as the points will be easier to plot. We can use tables for almost any type of data.
Probably the simplest way to present numerical data is to use a line graph. In these graphs both the dependent and independent variable is numerical. A line shows the effect of the independent variable and the dependent variable. Some cases in which we may use line graphs are:•The effect of temperature on the speed of a chemical reaction•The effect that the slope of a road has on driving speed•Temperature at different times of day
You can present data in a very simple format by using a bar chart. Bar charts are mainly used for categorical data. This type of data has non-numerical values as the independent variable and (mostly) numerical values as the dependent variable. Some examples of cases in which we may use bar charts are:•Favourite colours of students in a school•Colour of cars passing by a building•The frequency of the 10 most common names in a town
Pie charts are used to present data where you want to show a percentage of something. They are relatively easy to construct. However, we do not tend to use them very frequently in mathematics as there are not a lot of cases in which they are an appropriate way to present data. Some instances in which we can use them are:•Percentage of energy that originates from different energy sources•Percentage of inhabitants of different nationalities in a town•Percentage of planes from different airlines departing at an airport
Cumulative Frequency Graphs
A cumulative frequency graph is a continuous total of frequency. It can be used to easily identify the frequencies below, above or in-between points. Cumulative frequency graphs are appropriate in the following scenarios:•Grades of students•Size of trees in a forest •Distances run at a running competition
Histograms show the frequency as well as the distribution or spread of the data. They are quite similar to bar charts but more complex and mathematical. Here are some cases in which they can be used:•Ages of people in a town•Heights of basketball players•Lengths of cars
Box and Whiskers
Box an whiskers can be used to represent the distribution of data. The graphically show the min. and max. values along with the quartiles and the median. They can be used for almost any type of data.
To learn how to present data, choose one of the topics above that interests you. We suggest that you start off with tables as it is the most basic skills that you should master. Please share this page if you like it or found it helpful!
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