Fundamentals of Statistics contains material of various lectures and courses of H. Lohninger on statistics, data analysis and here for more.

Graphing Standards

Graphs are most valuable if they are labeled properly. The following is a short summary of the prerequisites for "good" graphs:

  • Titles/Captions

  • Any graph should be labeled with a short self-explanatory title.
  • Axes.

  • Both the horizontal and the vertical axis should be labeled with variable names and units. The major values should be clearly labeled with a meaningful numbering system (e.g. 1-2-5). The dependent variable should be plotted on the vertical axis and the independent variable on the horizontal axis.
  • Origin.

  • The origin should be zero. If the scaling of any axis prohibits the inclusion of the origin, a broken axis should indicate the offset from the origin.
  • Error Bars.

  • If the uncertainty of a parameter is known, it should be represented by an error bar.
  • Size and Clarity.

  • The range of the axes should be assigned such that most of the data (or the region of interest) occupies the whole graph.

Click on the  interactive example  to see a few examples illustrating bad designs.

Last Update: 2012-10-08