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MHS Library | Data

From results tables to graphs/charts

If you have completed a survey (perhaps a likert scale), created a table of measurements or any form of data in a table with rows and columns - then let's graph it appropriately. 

For example;

Pirrone, A. (2020, June 4). Visualizing Likert Scale Data - Nightingale - Medium. Medium; Nightingale.

Pie Charts

Pros: Sharing the part to whole relationship.

Cons: They are hard to read and interpret as they rely on the reader’s ability to decode quantitative information by comparing angles and areas.

Grouped Bar Charts

Pros: Easy for readers to compare length and position.

Cons: Display may require significantly more visual processing time.

Small Multiple Bar Charts

Pros: You are much better at reading length and position (natural reading left to right, top to bottom). A quick overview of the data and colouring of data indicates clearly where gaps are.

Cons: The reader has to interpret the relationships between the graphs.

Bubble charts

Waffle Bar Charts

Pros: Show the part to whole relationship in detail using a grid of 100 squares (10x10) to show the relative frequency of the given data.

Cons: It may be hard to pull meaning from the waffle bar chart, as with the pie charts, the reader must interpret the data by judging area. One downside to this display is that it is almost impossible to see where there were no responses.


Number and text

Pros: A great way to break up a lengthy, wordy report.

Cons: Some of the complexities of the data have been lost.

Stacked Bar Chart

Pros: Sharing the part-to-whole relationship and shows the whole range of data in proportion to one another.

Cons: It isn’t possible to have a common baseline (axis) on both the left- and right-hand side. 

Diverging Stacked Bar Chart

It’s essentially the same as a stacked bar chart but I have categorised the data into positive and negative categories by separating them with a thick visual baseline.