American Statistical Association
New York City
Metropolitan Area Chapter

Chapter Seminar
March 8, 2010



The New York Metro Area Chapter of the American Statistical Association

In Collaboration With

The Educational Psychology Ph.D. Program of the City University of New York

Are Pleased to Invite You to a Seminar On

HOW TO AVOID SOME COMMON GRAPHICAL MISTAKES
by
Naomi B. Robbins and Joyce Robbins
NBR



Abstract

Good graphs are extremely powerful tools for communicating quantitative information clearly and accurately. Unfortunately, many of the graphs we see today are poor graphs that confuse, mislead or deceive the reader. These poor graphs often occur because the graph designer is not familiar with principles of effective graphs or because the software used has a poor choice of default settings. We point out some of these graphical mistakes including using unnecessary dimensions, not making the data stand out, making mistakes with scales, and showing changes in one dimension by area or volume. A number of the examples come from college social science textbooks. In most cases, very simple changes make the resulting graphs easier for the reader to understand. In addition, we show some common mistakes with tables. We end with some useful little-known graph forms that communicate the data more clearly than the everyday graphs that are more commonly used.

Biographical Notes

Naomi B. Robbins, Ph.D., is a consultant and seminar leader who specializes in the graphical display of data. She offers presentations, short courses and workshops to train employees of corporations and organizations on the effective presentation of data. She also reviews documents and presentations for clients, suggesting improvements or alternative presentations as appropriate. She is the author of Creating More Effective Graphs, published by John Wiley (2005). In addition to her one and two day seminars on creating more effective graphs, she offers short programs such as “Recognizing Misleading and Deceptive Graphs” and “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should: Better charts with Excel.” Dr. Robbins has been the keynote speaker at international conventions and has spoken on graphs to universities, professional societies, corporations, and non-profits. She received her Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from Columbia University, M.A. from Cornell University, and A.B. from Bryn Mawr College. She had a long career at Bell Laboratories before forming NBR, her consulting practice.

Joyce Robbins, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Touro College in New York. Her research in political sociology combines quantitative and qualitative methods. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University, M.A. in sociology and anthropology from Tel Aviv University and B.S.E. in civil engineering and operations research from Princeton University.


Date
Monday, March 8, 2010

Time
4:00 to 6:00 P.M.
Doors open at 4:00
Seminar begins at 4:15


Location
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)
Room - To Be Announced
New York, New York

Registration and Fees
Advanced registration is required and there is no fee.
Registration closed Thursday, March 4, 2010.

Additional Information
For questions, send an e-mail to nycasa@mindspring.com.


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