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Write lecture on incorporating statistics, graphs, and

By Marilyn Cook,2014-04-15 15:27
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Write lecture on incorporating statistics, graphs, and

Incorporating Statistics, Graphs, and Illustrations

Charts, graphs, statistics, illustrations, and other visuals strengthen and support arguments in your research paper in the following ways:

; By presenting data simply and clearly

; By presenting numerical relationships visually

Types of Visuals

You can use different types of visuals in a research paper, including the following:

Charts and Graphs

Pie chart ;

o Purpose: Illustrates the entirety of something divided into parts

o Example:

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/techcomm8e/tutorials/chartsgraphs/3a.ht

ml

; Gantt chart

Purpose: Displays a schedule or timeline as a bar chart o

o Example:

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/techcomm8e/tutorials/chartsgraphs/3b.ht

ml

; Flow chart

o Purpose: Shows the order of steps in a process

o Example: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_97.htm

; Horizontal bar graph

o Purpose: Uses rectangular bars to compare two or more values

o Example:

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/techcomm8e/tutorials/chartsgraphs/3c.ht

ml

; Vertical bar graph

o Purpose: Uses rectangular bars to compare two or more values

o Example:

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/techcomm8e/tutorials/chartsgraphs/3d.ht

ml

; Line graph

o Purpose: Uses points to create a line in order to show comparisons

o Example:

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/techcomm8e/tutorials/chartsgraphs/3e.ht

ml

Tables

o Purpose: Arranges data in rows and columns

Illustrations

; Timeline

o Purpose: Shows a sequence of events, such as historical or scientific

events

o Example: http://www.microsoft.com/education/timelinesword.mspx

; Drawings

o Purpose: Conveys information that is better understood visually, for

example, a political cartoon, a map, or a drawing to illustrate parts of a tool

or a piece of technology

o Example: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/telephone1.htm

; Pictures or art

o Visually convey a powerful image

Selecting Appropriate Visuals

You must use visuals sparingly to maximize their impactapproximately one to

three visuals in appropriate locations in your research paper. In order to decide the best type of visual to use, consider the following questions:

; Can the visual convey information better than words can? Use a visual

only if the visual can better explain the concept than you can explain it with

words. If you write a paper about the dangers of mines, for example, including

a random piece of flower clip art will not mean much to the reader; however,

showing before and after photos of an area that has been mined could make

a powerful impact.

; At what skill level is my audience? Just as you should analyze your

audience before you write your paper, you should also analyze your audience

when considering which types of visuals to useyou want the information

presented to be at the audience’s skill level. Generally, bar charts are easier

for the general public to read and understand, whereas line charts are more

familiar to scientific audiences. If you were to write a paper to argue the

negative effects of second-hand smoke to a general audience, for example, a

chart showing the number of deaths due to second-hand smoke would

probably be more effective than a chart displaying the different levels of

chemicals in the smoke.

; What is your paper’s purpose and thesis? Consider using information that

impact on the reader. If the purpose of your paper is to convince your

audience not to get into credit card debt (or to get out of it), for example, you

could insert a chart that breaks down the amount individuals spend in interest

every year based on their credit-card balance.

; What types of visuals am I able to create? You may have a creative idea

for a visual but not the proper software or technical knowledge to create it.

Choose visuals you can easily create (basic visuals, such as pie and bar ?charts, in Microsoft Word and Excel, for example).

When choosing visuals from the Internet, be sure you do not violate copyright laws. You can usually find a page on a Web site explaining its copyright laws. Many will allow you to use the image provided you are not going to sell a document with the image in it. When in doubt, email the Web site or company for confirmation that you can use the image in a college paper.

Incorporating Visuals

Once you have selected the types of visuals and the kind of information the visuals will convey, decide where and how to incorporate each visual into your paper.

Effective Use of Visuals

Follow the suggestions below for the most common types of visuals:

; Place the visual in the most logical placewhere your argument in the paper

relates directly to the information in the visual.

; Do not include too much information in your visual. A bar chart with 15

different bars, for instance, would overwhelm the reader with too many

graphic effects (such as lines, colors, and so forth) or with too much data.

; Use transitional statements to introduce the visual. Consider the following

thesis: Schools need to serve more healthful foods. To support your argument,

you might want to include statistics comparing childhood obesity today with

figures in the past. To introduce a visual comparing these statistics, you could

write, “Researchers have noted that in every decade for the last 40 years,

American children have become more overweight. The following chart

illustrates this point.” Then, place your chart in the paper following the

transitional statements.

Number of Overweight Children

1800

1600

1400Number of 1200Ages 2-5children in the 1000

Ages 6-9thousands 800

600Ages 10-13400

200

019601970198019902000

Years

(Williams, 2006, p. 42)

; Add clear, concise explanations of the visual. Otherwise, your audience may

not understand the visual’s meaning or purpose. If necessary, place a short

explanation underneath the chart.

; Just as with your written sources, you must document visual information using

APA formatting guidelines..

For more information on creating and incorporating charts, graphs, tables, and other visuals into your research paper, refer to the following:

Preparing Effective Charts and Graphs at the Axia College Writing Resources

Web Site:

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/techcomm8e/tutorials/chartsgraphs/index.ht

Wrap-Up

If used too often or if used inappropriately, visuals can distract the reader. On the other hand, visuals can impact readers in powerful and memorable ways. To select the most effective type of visual for your research paper, consider the skill level of your audience, the purpose of your paper, and the kind of information you want to convey. Doing so will not only strengthen the arguments in your paper but also enhance your credibility as a researcher.

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