Often the best way to represent numerical data [data: information without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ] is in a graph. This makes it easy to read, digest, compare and spot trends. Different types of graph are used to present different types of statistical information.
Different types of graph are used to represent statistical data [statistical data: Information in numerical form, usually presented in tables. ]. The most common types are line graphs, bar graphs and pie charts.
Most graphs have two axes: the X axis is horizontal (across the bottom) while the Y axis is vertical (up the left side). The two axes each represent a different set of data [data: information without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ]. Line graphs are drawn by plotting points by their X and Y coordinates, then joining them together or drawing a line through the middle.
The line graph below shows how energy consumption is expected to rise, while consumption of fossil fuels [fossil fuel: Fuels such as coal, gas and oil which are mined from the earth and burned to produce energy. They are formed from broken down animals and plants that died a very long time ago. ] falls and the demand for renewable [renewable: A resource which is generated from sources which are not finite or exhaustible. For example, wave power, wind power, solar power or geothermal energy are renewable energy sources. ] energy increases.
Sometimes different sets of data will be represented on the same line graph, so comparisons can be made. This is sometimes called a comparison line graph.
If information can be subdivided into two (or more) types of data - eg total population growth, female population growth and male population growth - then all three can be drawn on a compound line graph.
Where the points on a graph do not map into a neat line, a line is drawn through the middle of the points to show the trend or correlation. This is called a scatter graph.
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