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 to your audience. For example:

  • I want to show how our average daily census has increased since we opened a new surgical floor.
  • I want to show the trend in emergency room use from midnight to 7:00am.
  • I want to show the decrease in our rate of fall with injuries on medical floors.
  • I want to show how our oncology services have grown since we added staff.
  • I need to monitor the change in the patient’s blood pressure rate.

Did you use any of the following words* in your sentence?

  • Change
  • Rise
  • Increase
  • Fluctuate
  • Grow
  • Decline
  • Decrease
  • Trend

If you did then you should most likely use one of the following graphs to display your data:

  • Vertical Bar Graph
  • Line Graph
  • Vertical Dot Plot
  • Multiple Strip Plot
  • Vertical Box Plot

* These words, with the exception of “trend,” were suggested by Gene Zelazny (2001) Say It with Charts, Fourth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill. The word “trend” is from Stephen Few’s (2004) Show Me the Numbers, First Edition, California: Analytics Press.

Leave a Reply