Presentation on theme: "Making effective plots: 1.Don’t use default Excel plots! 2.Figure should highlight the key relationships in the data. 3.Should be clear - no extraneous."— Presentation transcript:
Making effective plots: 1.Don’t use default Excel plots! 2.Figure should highlight the key relationships in the data. 3.Should be clear - no extraneous legends, lines, only use annotations when they add real explanatory value. 4.Don’t use bells and whistles like 3-D when they don’t improve clarity. 5.Make sure fonts are large enough to be read both in print and on screen.
Symbols are legible and distinctive. The symbols are large enough to view and distinguish if the page is held at arms length. Lines connecting symbols are legible and distinguishable (where possible). Every figure has a figure caption that explains the overall purpose of the figure and the meaning of every symbol and line on the figure, if no legend was included in the figure. The plot is not overly busy. Too many symbols and lines on one plot are simply confusing. Where appropriate, symbols should have error bars. A good plot would be legible if it was shrunk down onto a 3 by 5 index card. This is also true for a good table. Tables are difficult to display in talks, but are vital for papers. They can compress information and avoid boring, repetitious discourse. They can also help to keep you organized. Tables for talks should be VERY simple. Try stacking plots that are related to avoid overly busy, single plots.
Bar plots vs. box plots -Appropriate for counts without variation -Emphasis on comparing means -Error bars show some variation (if included) -Shows rough distribution of data, including outliers -Conveys much more information in same amount of space (customizable, but usually median, quartiles, 95% range, outliers)
For presentations, use color, make thick lines, larger fonts
Use diagrams and cartoons to illustrate concepts and describe methods