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HOW TO DISPLAY A LINE PLOT WITH COUNT INFORMATION?

In a previously-mentioned paper Sharad and your DSN editor are writing up, there is the above line plot with points. The area of each point shows the count of observations. It’s done in R with ggplot2 (hooray for Hadley). We generally like this type of plot, however, we are concerned about whether it gives people a good sense of the relative counts or not.

Ask yourself this:
1) If the area of the big circle represents 1,000 observations, how many observations does the second-biggest circle represent?
2) If the area of the second-biggest circle represents as many observations as you just said, how many observations does the third-biggest circle represent?

Write down your answers. There’s a form to enter them in below.

Now have a look at this one:

Same two questions:

3) If the area of the big circle represents 1,000 observations, how many observations does the second-biggest circle represent?
4) If the area of the second-biggest circle represents as many observations as you just said, how many observations does the third-biggest circle represent?

Watch this space for the exciting answer! If anyone has good ideas on presenting count information in a chart that relates an ordinal X and a continuous Y, please let us know.

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