Unit 12

Unit 12:
How to Interpret and Create Tables and Charts
Unit 12: Assignment #1 (due before 11:59 pm Central on MON JUL 30):

  1. In this Unit, you will learn how to design and interpret tables and figures (which are also called graphs or charts). To learn why it’s important that you know how to design and interpret tables and figures:
    1. Review from Unit 1: Assignment #6 Brooklyn College’s summary of Coplin’s (2012) book, 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College.
    2. Note that on p. 9, under the heading “Communicate Well,” the skill of “Use Visual Displays” is listed, and on p. 13, under the heading, “Using Quantitative Tools,” the skill “Use Graphs and Tables” is listed.
  2. Ensure that you’ve finished collecting data on the two surveys you designed during Unit 11.
    1. Remember that you’re NOT allowed to solicit as research participants anyone you do not already know (including any students from this class who you do not already know).
    2. Remember that you’re NOT allowed to contact other instructors about administering your surveys to students in their classes.
    3. Remember that you must collect data from 10 participants on each of your two surveys; however, the 10 participants can be the same participants for both of your two surveys or some combination of same and different.
    4. Remember that the 10 participants on each of your two surveys cannot be any of your pilot-participants for that survey.
    5. Remember that the 10 participants on each of your two surveys cannot be members or your current Chat Group, although they can be members of your previous Chat Group if those students are not also members of your current Chat Group.
    6. Remember that the data from all 10 (non-pilot) participants must be complete. If any of your 10 participants, for either of your two surveys, agree to complete your survey, but drop out (or otherwise don’t complete your survey), you’ll need to replace those participants.
    7. If you’ve collected complete sets of data from more than 10 (non-pilot) participants, that’s fine. For example, if you asked 15 participants to complete your survey, and 14 did, that’s fine. Don’t throw away (or ignore) any data! Use all the complete data you obtained.
  3. To learn how to code the responses to your surveys’ open-ended questions, read Infosurv Research’s (2015) article, “How to Code Open-Ended Survey Question Responses.”
    1. Note that during Step #2, you should read through ALL the responses to each of your open-ended questions, not just a sample, BEFORE you start to code the responses (because your surveys’ sample sizes are small enough to make it feasible for you to read through all the responses).
    2. As Step #8 directs, you should repeat Steps #3 through #6 as many times as it takes to obtain a valid and reliable coding system for each of your open-ended questions.
    3. As Step #4 recommends, your final coding scheme should not have more than 7 coding categories (for each open-ended question), and you should ensure that no coding category has less than 5% of responses.
  4. Next, count the number of responses in each of your coding categories (for each of your open-ended questions) following the example provided by the Planning Council for Health and Human Services’ (2011) handout.
    1. For each of the open-ended questions in your two surveys, make a table like the example table in the Planning Council for Health and Human Services’ (2011) handout.
    2. Make sure that each of your tables contains the exact wording of the open-ended question (as  the Planning Council for Health and Human Services’ (2011) handout does at the top of its table).
    3. Save each of your tables as its own separate image (.jpg, .jpeg, or .png), or take a screenshot of each table.
  5. Go to the Unit 12: Assignment #1 Discussion Board and make a new post of at least 200 words in which you
    1. tell us how many open-ended questions your two surveys contained;
    2. describe the process you used for coding each of the open-ended questions in your two surveys;
    3. discuss any difficulties you encountered in coding the open-ended questions and what you would do differently in a future survey to avoid these difficulties.
    4. If you didn’t encounter any difficulties in coding the open-ended questions, then discuss what features of your open-ended questions or your coding scheme you think enabled you to avoid difficulties.
    5. Embed (not attach, but embed) the images of the tables you constructed for coding and counting each of your open-ended questions. The words in these tables do not count toward your 200-word-count Discussion Board post.

Unit 12: Assignment #2 (due before 11:59 pm Central on MON JUL 30):

  1. Good figures, chart, and graphs are informative and ethical. We will cover those two attributes later in this unit. But in this assignment, you’ll learn and practice another attribute of good figures, charts, and graphs: They are creative.
  2. To whet your appetite for creative graphs, look at the following graphs that use household objects:
    1. In these two graphs, the top graph uses buttons to indicate quantity, and the bottom graph uses paint to indicate quantity.
    2. In these two graphs, the top graph uses candles to indicate quantity, and the bottom graph uses a hot dog to indicate quantity.
  3. Even without using household objects, you can use iconicity (which is a good word to learn) to create graphs. Look at each of the following graphs:
    1. This graph uses the length of elementary-school pencils to indicate the size of elementary-school classrooms.
    2. This graph uses the size of beverage bottle icons to indicate the monetary value of bottled beverage brands.
    3. This graph uses the number of Time Magazine covers to indicate the frequency with which different people have appeared on the cover of Time Magazine (through 2009).
    4. This graph uses pictures of competitively eaten food items to indicate competitive eating records.
    5. This graph arranges multiple countries’ carbon emissions in a foot-shaped graph to indicate the countries’ contributions to the global carbon footprint.
  4. Hopefully, at this point you are inspired to be creative with your graphs.
    1. As this graph demonstrates, data analysis requires data sorting, data arranging, and data visualization.
    2. And, as this graph demonstrates, you don’t need fancy apps to create engaging graphs; you can even hand-draw creative graphs.
  5. Identify two open-ended questions from your surveys that you think will enable you to make two creative graphs.
    1. The two open-ended questions can be from the same survey.
    2. Or one open-ended question can be from one of your two surveys, and the other can be from your other survey.
    3. Using the data from these two open-ended questions (that you coded in Assignment #1) and using whatever media you choose to use, create two interesting graphs.
    4. Save each graph as its own image file (.jpg, .jpeg, or .png), or take a screenshot of each graph.
  6. Go to the Unit 12: Assignment #2 Discussion Board and make a new post of at least 200 words in which you
    1. discuss which graphs that you looked at in this Assignment (in steps b. and c.) you liked the most – and why;
    2. discuss why you chose the two open-ended questions to graph that you chose;
    3. discuss how you created your two graphs; and
    4. embed (not attach) the two images of your two creative graphs.
    5. Remember to size your images according to what you learned in the Course How To.

Unit 12: Assignment #3 (due before 11:59 pm Central on TUE JUL 31):

  1. Now that you’ve learned how to analyze (and graph) the data from the open-ended questions in your two surveys, let’s turn to the data from your closed-ended questions.
    1. Review from Unit 11, Peters’ (no date) article, “How to Design a Survey” the differences between categorical (also known as nominal) and ordinal survey questions (and survey responses).
    2. For each of the closed-ended questions on your two surveys, identify whether they are categorical (also known as nominal) or ordinal.
  2. Next Read Peters’ (no date) article, “How to Analyze a Survey.” Although this article is chock-full of good advice, it’s dense. You might need to read it a couple of times.
    1. At the bottom of p. 1 through the top of p. 2, Peters describes how to make a frequency table from categorical data.
    2. At the bottom of p. 2 through the top of p. 3, Peters describes how to make a contingency table from categorical data.
    3. At the bottom of p. 3 and through p. 4, Peters describes how to make a frequency table from ordinal data.
    4. Peters also mentions that you can make a contingency table from ordinal data, although he doesn’t illustrate that specific case.
  3. From each of your two surveys, identify one (or more) closed-ended question (or questions) that will enable you to make either a frequency or a contingency table.
    1. Make one table, either frequency or contingency, from one (or more) closed-ended questions from your first survey.
    2. Save this table as an image (.jpg, .jpeg, or .png), or take a screenshot of it.
    3. Make another table, either frequency or contingency, from another one (or more) closed-ended questions from your second survey.
    4. Save this second table as an image (.jpg, .jpeg, or .png), or take a screenshot of it.
  4. Go to the Unit 12: Assignment #3 Discussion Board and make a new post of at least 200 words in which you
    1. identify, for each of your two tables, what type of table it is (frequency or contingency);
    2. discuss, for each of your two tables, why you chose a frequency or contingency table;
    3. discuss, for each of your two tables, why you chose the data you chose to present in that table;
    4. explain, for each of your two tables, how you created the table; and
    5. embed (not attach) the images of both of your two tables (which do not count toward the 200-word count for your Discussion Board post).

Unit 12: Assignment #4 (due before 11:59 pm Central on TUE JUL 31):

  1. Now you’re going to get more experience making charts, albeit more traditional charts than you made for Assignment #2.
    1. Re-read from Peters’ (no date) article, “How to Analyze a Survey,” the section “How to Graph Ordinal Scale Data” on pp. 5-6. (Peters describes how to make a “Diverging Bar Chart”).
    2. Read an excerpt from Few’s (2004) article, “Selecting the Right Graph for Your Message.” (Few describes how to make seven different types of graphs.)
  2. From each of your two surveys, identify some data that will enable you to make an interesting graph (either a “Diverging Bar Chart,” as described and illustrated in Peters’ article on pp. 5-6, or one of the seven types of graphs illustrated in Few’s article on pp. 2-3).
    1. Make a graph from data from your first survey.
    2. Save this graph as an image (.jpg, .jpeg, or .png), or take a screenshot of it.
    3. Make a second graph from data from your second survey.
    4. Save this second graph as an image (.jpg, .jpeg, or .png), or take a screenshot of it.
  3. Go to the Unit 12: Assignment #4 Discussion Board and make a new post of at least 200 words in which you
    1. identify, for each of your two graphs, what type of graph it is;
    2. discuss, for each of your two graphs, why you chose that type of graph;
    3. discuss, for each of your two graphs, why you chose the data you chose to present in that graph;
    4. explain, for each of your two graphs, how you created the graph; and
    5. embed (not attach) the images of both of your two graphs (which do not count toward the 200-word count for your Discussion Board post).

Unit 12: Assignment #5 (due before 11:59 pm Central on WED AUG 1):

  1. We now turn to the remaining two attributes of good figures, charts, and graphs: They are informative and ethical.
  2. To appreciate how incredibly informative a chart can be:
    1. Look at Minard’s (1869) well-known chart of Napolean’s 1812 (ill-fated) military campaign into Russia.
    2. Read an excerpt from Wikipedia about this chart, including the fact that noted (modern-day) statistician Edward Tufte says that Minard’s (1869) chart “may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn.”
    3. Look back at Minard’s (1869) chart and notice that it captures six types of data: the number of Napoleon’s troops; the distance Napoleon’s troops traveled; the direction they traveled; the temperature during their travels; and the latitude and longitude of the places to which they traveled.
  3. To look at current-day graphs that are highly informative:
    1. This graph captures multiple sources of data about dog breeds: size, type (hound, herding, terrier), public popularity, and perceived smarts. Notice that the dogs face in one direction if they’re considered clever, and they face another direction if they’re considered er … not so clever.
    2. This graph captures multiple sources of data about cooking oils: smoke point, % saturated fat; % mono-unsaturated fat; % poly-unsaturated fat; % trans fats; their Omega 3/6 ratio; and their taste.
    3. This graph captures frequency of birthdates for each of the 365 days in the year (plus the 366th day in leap years).
    4. This graph captures not only the date of the peak cherry-blossom bloom in Kyoto, Japan, going back to 800 A.D., but also the statistical trend line derived from these data and the confidence interval of that trend line.
    5. This graph captures the ages of all Nobel Prize winners, from 1901 to 2014, and their area of expertise. The boxy looking figures in the graph are called ‘box and whisker plots,’ which capture the mean, median, upper- and lower-quartile, and the range. If you’d like to learn how to make a box and whisker plot yourself, Khan Academy has a good tutorial.
  4. To appreciate the importance of making ethical graphs:
    1. Make sure you remember chapters 5 and 6 of Huff’s (1954) How to Lie with Statistics book that you read in Unit 7: Assignment #2.
    2. Make sure you know that the x-axis is the horizontal axis (also called the abscissa), and the y-axis is usually the vertical axis (also called the ordinate). A mnemonic for distinguishing the x-axis from the y-axis is “x to the left” and “y to the sky.”
    3. Make sure you know the difference between bar charts and line charts.
    4. Watch TedEd’s (2017) video, “How to Spot a Misleading Graph.”
    5. Read two University of Washington professors’ (2016) lecture notes, “Visualization: Misleading Axes on Graphs.”
  5. Write one five-paragraph essay supporting (with either reasons or examples) the thesis that good scientific visualizations should be informative, ethical, and creative.
    1. You may write a Reasons-style essay or an Examples-style essay (but it should be clear to your reader which style essay you’ve written).
    2. Make sure your five-paragraph essay contains all the necessary components of a five-paragraph essay (see, for example, the checklist in the Peer-Review Guidelines).
    3. Save your five-paragraph essay as a PDF, named YourLastname_VisualizationEssay.pdf.
  6. Go to the Unit 12: Assignment #5 Discussion Board and attach (not embed, but attach) your PDF for your essay.

Unit 12: Assignment #6 (due before 11:59 pm Central on WED AUG 1):

  1. Meet online with your Chat Group for a one-hour text-based Chat.
  2. Prior to your Chat Group meeting, all members of your Chat Group must have completed Assignments #1, #2, #3, and #4 in this Unit.
  3. During the one-hour text-based Chat, each Chat Group member will take turns doing the following:
    1. First, present the background psychological science on each of the two topics of their two surveys (from Unit 11: Assignment #1, step e);
    2. Second, present the two graphs they made in Unit 12: Assignment #2, the two tables they made in Unit 12: Assignment #3, and the two charts they made in Unit 12: Assignment #4.
    3. Third, describe other aspects of the data they collected (e.g., what else did they discover of interest?).
  4. The other member(s) of the Chat Group will provide peer feedback about each member’s surveys’ background psychological science; graphs, tables, and charts; and other interesting findings.
  5. At the end of your one-hour Chat:
    1. Nominate one member of your Chat Group (who participated in the Chat) to make a post on the Unit 12: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that summarizes your Group Chat in at least 200 words.
    2. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to save the Chat transcript as a .htm or .html file and attach the file to a Unit 12: Assignment #6 Discussion Board post.
    3. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to make another post on the Unit 12: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that states the name of your Chat Group, the names of the Chat Group members who participated the Chat, the date of your Chat, and the start and stop time of your Chat.
    4. If only two persons participated in the Chat, then one of those two persons needs to do two of the above three tasks.
    5. Before ending the Group Chat, your Chat Group might want to arrange the time for the Group Chat you will need to hold during the next Unit (Unit 13: Assignment #6).
  6. All members of the Chat Group must record a typical Unit entry in their own Course Journal for Unit 12.

Congratulations, you have finished Unit 12! Onward to Unit 13!