Presentation on theme: "Dr Michelle Reid Study Adviser, University of Reading"— Presentation transcript:
1Dr Michelle Reid Study Adviser, University of Reading Using graphical dataDr Michelle ReidStudy Adviser, University of Reading
2Overview of the workshop Why use graphical data?Tables, graphs, diagrams, picturesWhat to remember when using graphical data
3A prize for the longest list! To start you thinking…Who writes reports?Working in pairs:List as many different kinds of reports as you can(e.g. Reports on lab work, reports on field work)A prize for the longest list!
4Why use graphical data?Shows information in an easy to understand visual formAdds value – conveys something more than just writing canHelps the reader see trends, patterns, or complex processes more easilyIs accurate, relevant, and clear – and has a purpose
5Referring to graphical data If you include a figure or table, you should always refer to it and explain what it shows:e.g. “The Keeling plant's production capacity was reached in May this year. In contrast, the Hergort plant has not yet reached 75% of its production capacity (see Table 13)”.Label your figures clearly – figure 1, figure 2, etcMake it clear to your audience which one you are referring to
6Main types of graphical data TablesBar chartsLine graphsPie chartsDrawings / diagramsPhotographs
7Tables are useful for…Presenting a quantity of numerical data in an accessible formatShowing exact numbers
8Using tablesIf you have a lot of data in tables – are they all essential? Can some be placed in an appendix?Make sure your columns and rows are clearly labeledTables can rarely stand alone – you need to describe in words what the table shows – what are the key things the reader should look for?Graphs may be better for showing trends or patterns
9Bar charts are useful for… Comparing discrete values or categoriesComparing a number of different discrete values side by side (see fig.2)Internet use by Redwood School studentsFigure 1Figure 2 (From Statistics Canada)
10Using bar chartsBars can be vertical or horizontal (horizontal is sometimes best if there are a lot of categories)Use of colours can help distinguish between the barsBar charts are not as effective as line graphs at showing continuous increasing / decreasing trends
11Line graphs are useful for… Showing trends (how data changes over time)Showing relationships (how two variables interact)
12Using line graphsCheck that your values for the x-axis (horizontal) and the y-axis (vertical) are correctWhen plotting trends over time, the x axis is commonly used to represent units of time, and the y axis is used to represent quantityUse a sensible scale so that the line’s shape does not give the audience an incorrect impression of the data
13Line graph scales Number of guilty crime offenders, Grishamville, 2007 Figure 1Which scale gives the most accurate view of the trend in offender reduction?Figure 2Graphs from Statistics Canada
14Pie charts are useful for… Showing the percentage or proportion of the whole that is taken by various partspercent ÷ 100 x 360 degrees = the number of degrees
15Using pie chartsPut the %s in as numbers alongside the segments for ease of readingThe chart can become difficult to read if there are too many segmentsAvoid using a pie chart if you have a lot of small % which are very similar – the segments will be hard to distinguishWhen comparing two sets of data (e.g. figures for boys and girls) use a double bar graph, as comparing segments across two separate pie charts is difficult
16Drawings / diagrams are useful for… Showing complex processes or detailed technical descriptionsShowing a step-by-step cycle or process (e.g. in manufacturing)Diagram by Eric Pierce
17Using drawings / diagrams Make sure all your diagrams are large enough and of sufficiently high qualityLabel and explain each diagram fullyReference any diagrams / figures that have been created by another person
18Photographs are useful for… Illustrating what is being describedAs visual evidence (e.g. showing a particular site, scene or landscape)When you need “real world” visual evidence, that can’t easily be drawnPhoto by K. Kiser
19Using photographsIt is tempting to include photos just to make your report look nice! Always think - what is the purpose of this photo and what would happen if it wasn’t there?Reference all photos taken by another personYou may still have to ask permission to use your own photos if your work is likely to be published (e.g. if it is of people or a private building etc)Check the quality, especially if you are printing colour photos in black and white
20Activity: What’s wrong with this picture? Working in small groups – each group has a different image / graphAssess the use of graphical data – is your figure:AppropriateClearly labelledAccurateThe right scaleWhy has this form of graphical data been chosen?
21What to remember when using graphical data Is this necessary, or just decorative?Have you double checked the data for accuracy?Is the type of figure (graph / table / diagram) appropriate for its purpose?Is the figure labelled clearly with a title?Does it have a key if necessary?Is the figure of sufficient size and quality to be easily interpreted?Do you describe what the figure shows in words too?Have you referenced all figures created by other people?
22LearnHigher report writing webpages Further resourcesLearnHigher report writing webpagesGuides and exercises on all aspects of reports.Analyse this! (Manchester Metropolitan) Simple and accessible guide to data analysis
23Any questions? Thank you and good luck with your report writing!