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KELLOGG.NORTHWESTERN

See an Exciting Trend in That Chart? Proceed with Caution.

See an Exciting Trend in That Chart? Proceed with Caution.

insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu

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According to new research from the Kellogg School, how data are visualized can significantly impact our interpretation of what we’re seeing sometimes for the worse. Our efforts to simplify charts by grouping data into smaller numbers of “buckets” (say, two bars on a chart as opposed to ten) seeme...

Line Charts, Circles and Bars 📈📊

An experiment was done to find out whether these styles(bar charts, line charts, scatterplots, and plain text) differ in how "casual" they make the data appear to people.

4 correlations were chosen to display visually. 4 different visualizations for each scenario.

Each participant...

More Aggregation, More Assumptions of Causality

The same experiment was done, this time they developed bar charts, line charts, and scatterplots with three different levels of aggregation.

This time the type of chart had only a small effect on participants’ ratings of causality. Much more significant, however, was the effect of aggregati...

Be mindful when you aggregate, because the assumption people have may become a causal one. So think carefully about how you present your data and maybe iterate with your own design team or with your data analysts so people don’t misinterpret what you’re trying to say.

Even the most sophisti...

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