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Comments

Alex

A great post made even better by the use of the term tifosi! It must be Calcio season again!

Andrew Gelman

Yes, line charts rule. I particularly like your illustration showing how a dot chart actually gets implicitly read as a line chart.

Kaiser

Alex: Thanks for noticing. Are there any Calcio watching groups in NYC?

Basil

I find this argument a little ironic as I teach this to 7th grade students. The scale of your chart is also a very important factor that many don't emphasize. Differences can be blown up or seemed to be oblivous.

Stubborn Mule

You make an excellent case here for the use of line charts with categorical data. With both dot plots and line charts, the zero baseline is less important (I believe) as the eye tends to judge position as opposed to the length judgement made with bar charts. Your chart labelled "Another Chart" seems to support that view, but is there any reason you based the other line chart at zero? Just consistency with the bar charts?

Rick Wicklin

I think you can improve interpretation by rearranging the order of the horizontal axis. For example, if you order by mean reponse, the order is Music, Games, Movies, Flu. This enables the reader to deduce additional information about the categories being studied and allows a comparison of similar categories because similar categories will be near one another.

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Marketing analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker. Currently at Vimeo and NYU. See my full bio.

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