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 categorical order it is called a Nominal Comparison.

For example you might want to show that:

  • The medical staff is smaller than the surgical staff.
  • The nursing staff is bigger on weekdays than on weekends.
  • Patient admissions are twice as big on Mondays and Wednesdays than on Thursday and Friday.
  • The number of prescriptions dispensed on the to inpatients is larger than those dispensed to outpatients.

To display nominal data use a:

  • Horizontal bar graph
  • Vertical bar graph
  • Horizontal dot graph
  • Vertical dot graph

Displaying the data in this way is often an easy and fast to just take a look at the data and see what might be going on before moving to ranking or trending or comparing part-to-whole. And very often it is just a quick way to show the data with no next steps — you will “see” what you need to understand quickly and easily.

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