Choosing suitable plots for presenting results


Userlevel 3
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In my first year as a PhD student, I made the massive mistake to choose the wrong type of plot to present some results to my supervisor. Obviously, that constructive feedback is stuck into my mind and I’ll never forget it now:

Having great results is not enough, I also need to choose the right plot to present them. 

In the meantime, I found this chart that I wish I had back then. I think it helps quite a lot when deciding which plot to use depending on your data.

Have you ever chosen the wrong type of plot to present your results? 😅


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Userlevel 4
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That’s really helpful thanks Lara! I also found (and still find) it difficult to choose to right plot. It’s a tough balance between keeping it audience friendly whilst not losing the value of your analysis. A big one for me for using the wrong type of plot was using barcharts! Particularly when you’re using a combination of numerical and categorical data, and lots of it. I’ve started using dotcharts in these circumstances, they are much more user-friendly and less aggressive on the eyes 😂 

Userlevel 6
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That link is great, definitely will be keeping that to hand! 

I think something that I’ve definitely done when making charts is to over-complicate things. When you’ve been really close to the data yourself, you know it inside out and so I’ve made the mistake to then make something really complicated that I think is making several points at once. But you have to remember that the person seeing the chart might have only a few minutes to understand what it is. Something that can be good is quickly running charts by someone else in your team to see if it makes sense to them before you send it off to the intended audience!

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