Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
William G. Jacoby
Statistical graphics provide visual displays of quantitative information. While graphs have been an important tool in the statistical sciences, their role and applications have evolved over time. In the past, graphical displays were generally employed for pedagogical purposes and to present the final results of an analysis. Currently, graphs are being incorporated more directly into data analysis itself, where they are used to provide insights and directions for further investigation. In this entry, the basic elements, major advantages, and recent developments of statistical graphics are presented. Statistical graphs are used for several purposes. First, they provide a tool for exploring the contents of a data set; in effect, graphical displays enable researchers to interact directly with the “raw material” for their analyses. Second, graphs enable researchers to look for structure in their data; they provide a ready means to identify interesting features such as concentrations of observations at particular data ...