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The most popular way misrepresenting data on graph is not starting with zero on the y axis (vertical axis). This can make very small differences look much greater than they are. For example a graph where the y axis starts at 2000 and goes to 2100 a small difference will look large on the graph. Another method is to miss data points on the x axis this is done to to show a trend that doesn't exist in reality. There is no real way of spotting data that is just made up of course except watch out for line graphs where the line exactly matches the data points. In the real world this hardly ever happens.

Q: How do you detect misleading graphs?

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Don't make graphs misleading!As for the answer: different scales, leaving out points, drawing extra lines with no meaning, confusing labels, ...Most graphs you see online are misleading, few are really good.

At the Department of Crime Statistics in South Africa

They usually contain a "break" in the graph, which would be on the left side of the graph.

Visual presentation is a very efficient way of conveying information - whether the information is correct or incorrect - including deliberately misleading. Once accepted, all information is difficult to amend. It is important, therefore, that the correct messages are taken in from graphs.

Graphs can mislead people by the way they are prepared. See related links for good examples of misleading graphs. When you see a graph, you are seeing a summary of the data. Sometimes our data is misleading, so the graph is just presenting misleading data. For example, I show a graph of how much men and women make each year at a company. I see men make more every year, while women just stay about the same. Perhaps the company just has one woman working there. Perhaps in her job, there are no salary increases. I can also not start the y-axis at zero, to exagerrate the differences. A chart should include all the data. Excluding some data can result in a misleading graph. However, in a graph showing changes over period of time, the preparer of the graph has to chose how long a period is relavent. If we are explaining global warming, a plot showing 100 years might be good. But a graph of car accidents per year, perhaps 5 years is more reasonable.

Related questions

they are graphs that are misleading

They can be misleading if information is missing or it is inaccurate.

the intervals on the side are different

Don't make graphs misleading!As for the answer: different scales, leaving out points, drawing extra lines with no meaning, confusing labels, ...Most graphs you see online are misleading, few are really good.

At the Department of Crime Statistics in South Africa

Graphs can be misleading by having a break in them, not starting at zero, or go up by a certain nuber and then another number completely (ex:up by 1's and then up by 3's). Commercials for companies usually use misleading graphs to enfluence people to buy their porduct. In other words, they lie to get more customers but don't really lie- they just break up the graph to a certain point.

They usually contain a "break" in the graph, which would be on the left side of the graph.

Visual presentation is a very efficient way of conveying information - whether the information is correct or incorrect - including deliberately misleading. Once accepted, all information is difficult to amend. It is important, therefore, that the correct messages are taken in from graphs.

It could imply that a thicker bar means that particular value was greater, when in fact only the height is important in bar graphs.

Bar graphs and line graphs do not. Straight line, parabolic, and hyperbolic graphs are graphs of an equation.

circle graphs add up to 100% , bar and line graphs don't

Graphs can mislead people by the way they are prepared. See related links for good examples of misleading graphs. When you see a graph, you are seeing a summary of the data. Sometimes our data is misleading, so the graph is just presenting misleading data. For example, I show a graph of how much men and women make each year at a company. I see men make more every year, while women just stay about the same. Perhaps the company just has one woman working there. Perhaps in her job, there are no salary increases. I can also not start the y-axis at zero, to exagerrate the differences. A chart should include all the data. Excluding some data can result in a misleading graph. However, in a graph showing changes over period of time, the preparer of the graph has to chose how long a period is relavent. If we are explaining global warming, a plot showing 100 years might be good. But a graph of car accidents per year, perhaps 5 years is more reasonable.