Chapter 5 Visualizing for description

  • (Research) Question: How are units distributed across values/categories of a variable (or several)?
  • Objective:
    • We want to show how the data is distributed
      • without necessarily implying causal connections
    • Exploration & presentation
    • Replace overwhelming summary tables
  • Data
    • Sometimes uni-dimensional data, sometimes multi-dimensional (e.g., joint distribution)
    • Sometimes time is one of the dimensions/variables
    • Sometimes we want to summarize a dimension (or several), e.g., show averages of income across time
  • Usage: Descriptive graphs in methods section or in the appendix
  • Note: Description is just as important as explanation
  • Types of graphs: Depend on the data types.. histograms, boxplots, lineplots etc.
  • Nice overview: Visualizing Multivariate Categorical Data