Don't believe it till you see it!

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As you've probably guessed, I'm a "visual" person - I like to see things (in a chart/graph/map) rather than just reading about them (in a data table and summary statistic). Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of statistics and analytics -- but I'm an even bigger fan of looking at your data in several different ways, to fully understand it!

And although it wasn't always possible in the past (limited by low-resolution screens and dot-matrix printers), we now live in a time when it is possible to graph just about any data on a high-resolution screen or laser printer.

And here's a little SAS/GRAPH 'magic' to show you how important it is to plot your data, rather than just blindly looking at a statistic... :)

This is a SAS/GRAPH version of Anscombe's Quartet - 4 data sets that have nearly identical statistical properties, but the graphs tell a different story!

 

 

And here's a link to the SAS code used to create these graphs, and display all 4 on one page (using Proc Greplay)!

Question: Have you ever run into a situation where the statistical description of the data was misleading, and the graph showed the real story? If so, please share with us in a comment!

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About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over 20 years, and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book (SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics).

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