Outline content for the workshop

Charts and Graphs (in R)



This workshop will deal with the selection of appropriate charts for different types of information and with producing good-quality charts for publication using the R statistical software package.

The topics to be covered will include:

  • The range of different types of graphs available.
  • How the reader perceives the elements of a graph and interprets these as quantities. We will try one of the experiments done to test how accurately people can interpret different types of graphs, and discuss the results of other experiments.
  • Chart junk and the perils of prettification; charts in Excel.
  • Recommendations from charting gurus, William Cleveland and Edward Tufte, and the demands of journal editors.
  • Quick review of the R software package, in particular how you can get your information into R prior to graphing.
  • Basic plotting functions in R: scatterplot, histogram, box-and-whiskers plot, strip chart, bar diagram, dot diagram, scatterplot matrix, curves, mosaic plots.
  • Customising basic functions: titles, axis labels, plotting symbols, line width and type, colours, axes.
  • Using mathematical symbols and Greek letters in titles and labels.
  • Adding elements to a basic plot: points, lines, text, legend, loess curves, regression lines.
  • Using colour in plots; colours for the colour-blind.
  • 3D plots: contour plots, wireframe plots.
  • Saving plots in pdf and graphics formats.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own data sets OR results of their analysis to the workshop and to experiment with different plotting options.

Please note that this is NOT a statistics workshop; if you want a stats workshop come to a Boot Camp! We will be focusing here on graphics and will not discuss data analysis.

All participants should come with a laptop computer with R and a spreadsheet package installed.

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Page updated 20 May 2017 by Mike Meredith