Which chart is better?

August 10, 2010

(This article was first published on Decision Science News » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)


Once upon a time there was this graph (graph 1).

Andrew Gelman went all graphics curmudgeon on it, calling it an “ugly, sloppy bit of data graphics“, so it became this graph (graph 2).

Now the question is, which is better: graph 2 or graph 3?

Please use the comments and logic. Thank you.


As a result of all the feedback here. The following chart was chosen for use in the publication (Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences):

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/2104152944/. Graphs 1 and 3 have four categories and graph 2 has five categories. Also, there is a missing label on graph 3′s horizontal axis. Assume you are deciding among graphs of these basic forms that have equivalent numbers of groups and identical axis labeling.

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