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Gilbert Bede

Use Statistics Carefully

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

~Author Unknown


Working with statistical data to create graphs, charts infographics, and visualizations of the data can be challenging. Some people through either poor design or deliberate action, use graphs, charts, infographics and visualizations to misinform their audience. 


Evaluating Data Used to Create Graphs, Charts, Infographics and Visualizations

  • Accuracy: The data needs to be accurate 

    • The data should be from an authoritative source, For example, institutions such as national statistical agencies such as Statistics Canada, Provincial agencies such as DataBC, Local Government such as the City of Kelowna international bodies the United Nations, WHO or organizations directly involved in gathering and analyzing data such as OECD or WorldBank, etc. 

  • Relevancy: The data should meet the requirements for the intended use

  • Completeness:‚Äč The Data should not have missing values or missed data records

  • Timeliness: The data should be up-to-date

  • Consistency: The data should be in a format that can be cross reference-able between countries, i.e., comparing the consumption of chocolate between Canada and Thailand. To do this statisticians analyze and present the data in a consistent manner making data comparable between countries. This helps to avoid the problem of comparing oranges to apples. 

Choosing the Right Chart, Graph, Infographic or Visualization

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