Monthly Archives: September 2011


Big mistake. I made a big mistake recently and I am woman enough to admit it. I failed to understand EXACTLY what decision was being informed by the report I had been asked to design. How could this happen? Simple. … Continue reading

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Three Simple Words That Will Improve Your Data Displays

When you hear the words “just do it” you immediately get the message — stop your whining and complaining and get your lazy butt moving. “Just do it.” When it comes to healthcare data displays the three words that matter … Continue reading

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When should you use a table to display data?

Tables should be used to display data when you need to look up specific values. The earliest table I remember (quite vividly) is the multiplication table that we were given in elementary school (yes, long before hand held calculators of … Continue reading

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Time Series

How do I know if my quantitative message is a Time Series? A quick and easy way to determine if your message is a time series is to write down in a short sentence describing what you need to convey … Continue reading

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When should I consider ranking data? You should rank data when you need to show how individual quantitative values that are associated with a set of categorical subdivisions relate to each other sequentially. And, of course, you may rank this … Continue reading

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Nominal Comparisons

I just want to show and compare the data divided by categories — pure vanilla — what should I do? When you simply want to display your data so that it can be easily viewed and compared in no specific … Continue reading

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How do I show if two paired sets of quantitative values vary in relation to each other? First I always — as in ALWAYS remind people — correlation is NOT causation. Consider the synonyms for the word correlation: Association Connection … Continue reading

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Part-to-Whole Relationships

How do I determine if I should use a graph that displays part-to-whole relationships? The simplest way to think about part-to-whole data is to determine if what you really are communicating is a ratio. And the best way to think … Continue reading

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How do I show how data points (values) are distributed from lowest to highest across an entire range of values? When you need to impart how data is dispersed, scattered, concentrated or spread across a range you are communicating a … Continue reading

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A deviation is simply the difference between two sets of values. (Often referred to as a variance, which can cause confusion, as a variance is a statistical calculation between two values.) For our purposes (as described) I will refer to … Continue reading

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