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Archive of posts filed under the Statistical graphics category.

An article in a statistics or medical journal, “Using Simulations to Convince People of the Importance of Random Variation When Interpreting Statistics.”

Andy Stein writes: On one of my projects, I had a plot like the one above of drug concentration vs response, where we divided the patients into 4 groups. I look at the data below and think “wow, these are some wide confidence intervals and random looking data, let’s not spend too much time more […]

Graphs of school shootings in the U.S.

Bert Gunter writes: This link is to an online CNN “analysis” of school shootings in the U.S. I think it is a complete mess (you may disagree, of course). The report in question is by Christina Walker and Sam Petulla. Gunter lists two problems: 1. Graph labeled “Race Plays A Factor in When School Shootings […]

“Bullshitters. Who Are They and What Do We Know about Their Lives?”

Hannes Margraf writes: I write to make you aware of a paper with the delightful title “Bullshitters. Who Are They and What Do We Know about Their Lives?” [by John Jerrim, Phil Parker, and Nikki Shure]. The authors examine “teenagers’ propensity to claim expertise in three mathematics constructs that do not really exist” and “find […]

My talk on visualization and data science this Sunday 9am

Uncovering Principles of Statistical Visualization Visualizations are central to good statistical workflow, but it has been difficult to establish general principles governing their use. We will try to back out some principles of visualization by considering examples of effective and ineffective uses of graphics in our own applied research. We consider connections between three goals […]

Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology

Judith Tanur writes: The Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology recognizes students in the social sciences who incorporate visual analysis in their work. The contest is open worldwide to undergraduate and graduate students (majoring in any social science). It is named for Rachel Dorothy Tanur (1958–2002), an urban planner and lawyer who cared deeply […]

Hey, look! The R graph gallery is back.

We’ve recommended the R graph gallery before, but then it got taken down. But now it’s back! I wouldn’t use it on its own as a teaching tool, in that it has a lot of graphs that I would not recommend (see here), but it’s a great resource, so thanks so much to Yan Holtz […]

“The most mysterious star in the galaxy”

Charles Margossian writes: The reading for tomorrow’s class reminded me of a project I worked on as an undergraduate. It was the planet hunter initiative. The project shows light-curves to participants and asks them to find transit signals (i.e. evidence of a transiting planets). The idea was to rely on human pattern recognition capabilities to […]

What if that regression-discontinuity paper had only reported local linear model results, and with no graph?

We had an interesting discussion the other day regarding a regression discontinuity disaster. In my post I shone a light on this fitted model: Most of the commenters seemed to understand the concern with these graphs, that the upward slopes in the curves directly contribute to the estimated negative value at the discontinuity leading to […]

“Data is Personal” and the maturing of the literature on statistical graphics

Traditionally there have been five ways to write about statistical graphics: 1. Exhortations to look at your data, make graphs, do visualizations and not just blindly follow statistical procedures. 2. Criticisms and suggested improvements for graphs, both general (pie-charts! double y-axes! colors! labels!) and specific. 3. Instruction and examples of how to make effective graphs […]

What pieces do chess grandmasters move, and when?

The above image, from T. J. Mahr, is a cleaned-up version of this graph: which in turn is a slight improvement on a graph posted by Dan Goldstein (with R code!) which came from Ashton Anderson. The original, looks like this: This is just fine, but I had a few changes to make. I thought […]

Going beyond the rainbow color scheme for statistical graphics

Yesterday in our discussion of easy ways to improve your graphs, a commenter wrote: I recently read and enjoyed several articles about alternatives to the rainbow color palette. I particularly like the sections where they show how each color scheme looks under different forms of color-blindness and/or in black and white. Here’s a couple of […]

What are some common but easily avoidable graphical mistakes?

John Kastellec writes: I was thinking about writing a short paper aimed at getting political scientists to not make some common but easily avoidable graphical mistakes. I’ve come up with the following list of such mistakes. I was just wondering if any others immediately came to mind? – Label lines directly – Make labels big […]

Do regression structures affect research capital? The case of pronoun drop. (also an opportunity to quote Bertrand Russell: This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.)

A linguist pointed me with incredulity to this article by Horst Feldmann, “Do Linguistic Structures Affect Human Capital? The Case of Pronoun Drop,” which begins: This paper empirically studies the human capital effects of grammatical rules that permit speakers to drop a personal pronoun when used as a subject of a sentence. By de‐emphasizing the […]

What’s the upshot?

Yair points us to this page, The Upshot, Five Years In, by the New York Times data journalism team, listing their “favorite, most-read or most distinct work since 2014.” And some of these are based on our research: There Are More White Voters Than People Think. That’s Good News for Trump. (Story by Nate Cohn. […]

Ballot order update

Darren Grant writes: Thanks for bringing my work on ballot order effects to the attention of a wider audience via your recent blog post. The final paper, slightly modified from the version you posted, was published last year in Public Choice. Like you, I am not wedded to traditional hypothesis testing, but think it is […]

“The Long-Run Effects of America’s First Paid Maternity Leave Policy”: I need that trail of breadcrumbs.

Tyler Cowen links to a research article by Brenden Timpe, “The Long-Run Effects of America’s First Paid Maternity Leave Policy,” that begins as follows: This paper provides the first evidence of the effect of a U.S. paid maternity leave policy on the long-run outcomes of children. I exploit variation in access to paid leave that […]

David Weakliem on the U.S. electoral college

The sociologist and public opinion researcher has a series of excellent posts here, here, and here on the electoral college. Here’s the start: The Electoral College has been in the news recently. I [Weakliem] am going to write a post about public opinion on the Electoral College vs. popular vote, but I was diverted into […]

Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die; or We broke R-hat so now we have to fix it.

“Otto eye-balled the diva lying comatose amongst the reeds, and he suddenly felt the fire of inspiration flood his soul. He ran back to his workshop where he futzed and futzed and futzed.” –Bette Midler Andrew was annoyed. Well, annoyed is probably too strong a word. Maybe a better way to start is with The […]

R fixed its default histogram bin width!

I remember hist() in R as having horrible defaults, with the histogram bars way too wide. (See this discussion: A key benefit of a histogram is that, as a plot of raw data, it contains the seeds of its own error assessment. Or, to put it another way, the jaggedness of a slightly undersmoothed histogram […]

“Principles of posterior visualization”

What better way to start the new year than with a discussion of statistical graphics. Mikhail Shubin has this great post from a few years ago on Bayesian visualization. He lists the following principles: Principle 1: Uncertainty should be visualized Principle 2: Visualization of variability ≠ Visualization of uncertainty Principle 3: Equal probability = Equal […]