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Notes > Foundations of Computing > Presentation of Data

Data that has been collected can be represented using tables, pictograms, bar charts, pie charts, graphs, scatter diagrams, and frequency tables. The advantage of using tables is that all the data can be shown and accurate conclusions can be extracted from it.

Pictograms use pictures associated with graphs to grab the attention of the reader. This form of data representation is often used in advertising and is the least accurate form of data representation.

Bar charts effectively show how different variables compare with each other quantitatively. The columns or bars can easily be arranged vertically or horizontally. Component bar charts show the different parts that a total amount is divided up into. The components of each total can be stacked on top of each other so that a typical bar chart is the result. In this case the components would be colour coded and referenced to by a legend or key for example. Alternatively, the components can be put side by side. This makes it easier to see the difference in sizes of the components compared to each other.

Pie charts show the amounts that make up the whole by dividing the whole "pie" or circle into proportionately sized segments. Graphs can be used when the classification (which is shown along the horizontal axis) is numerical. Graphs are particularly effective when representing a time series.

Scatter diagrams are used to determine a relationship (if any) between two variables (bivariate data). The horizontal axis is known as the x-axis and is typically used for the independent variable. The dependent variable is usually shown on the vertical axis which is known as the y-axis.

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