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 it as a deviation.

When you need to show how data:

  • Diverges
  • Departs
  • Varies
  • Digresses
  • Changes
  • Moves away from another set of values.

Again, you are essentially displaying the difference between two values.

A few examples are:

  • Budget versus actual financial performance.
  • Current surgical wound infection rates compared to the previous year.
  • HCAHPS scores compared to target.

The best graphs to display deviations or the difference between two sets of values are:

  • Vertical Bar Graph
  • Horizontal Bar Graph

If you also want to show a time series you can use a Line Graph.

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