Everyone Knows What a Histogram Is, or Do They?: How Non-Statisticians Read Histograms

TitleEveryone Knows What a Histogram Is, or Do They?: How Non-Statisticians Read Histograms
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKaplan, JJ, Gabrosek, J, Curtiss, P, Malone, CJ
Conference NameJoint Statistical Meetings
Date Published08/2014
PublisherAmerican Statistics Association
Conference LocationBoston, MA
AbstractHistograms are adept at revealing the distribution of data values, especially the shape of the distribution and any outlier values. They are the typical graph used by statisticians to display univariate quantitative data and are included in introductory statistics texts, research methods texts, and in the popular press, yet non-statisticians often have difficulty interpreting the information conveyed by a histogram. This talk will identify and discuss four common misconceptions associated with the reading of histograms. In addition it will present pre- and post-test results on an instrument designed to measure the extent to which the misconceptions persist after instruction. These misconceptions have implications for communication between statistical consultants and non-statisticians.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.