Forest plots using R and ggplot2

October 31, 2010

(This article was first published on Stat Bandit » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Forest plots are most commonly used in reporting meta-analyses, but can be profitably used to summarise the results of a fitted model. They essentially display the estimates for model parameters and their corresponding confidence intervals.

Matt Shotwell just posted a message to the R-help mailing list with his lattice-based solution to the problem of creating forest plots in R. I just figured out how to create a forest plot for a consulting report using ggplot2. The availability of the geom_pointrange layer makes this process very easy!! <- function(d){
# d is a data frame with 4 columns
# d$x gives variable names
# d$y gives center point
# d$ylo gives lower limits
# d$yhi gives upper limits
    p <- ggplot(d, aes(x=x, y=y, ymin=ylo, ymax=yhi))+geom_pointrange()+
           coord_flip() + geom_hline(aes(x=0), lty=2)+ xlab('Variable')

If we start with some dummy data, like

d <- data.frame(x = toupper(letters[1:10]),
                y = rnorm(10, 0, 0.1))
d <- transform(d, ylo = y-1/10, yhi=y+1/10)

we can get the following graph:

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