Presenting survey data

July 3, 2018
By

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I work in a social science and economics department and a lot of our work is based on surveys of opinion. One question style we use a lot is likert, I’ve tried a few ways to present these results. My current favourite is a stacked bar graph, ordered by agreement.

I’ve created an example of this using data from a political blog. I was struggling to interpret the survey results in their table form, so spent a few minutes cleaning them in a spreadsheet and made the plots below. I don’t think the results entirely support the headline, but that’s news and politics for you!

The question asked was: In your personal experience/opinion, how would you rate the overall state of the following public services?

stacked_bar

Results of a political poll take from: https://wingsoverscotland.com/scotland-versus-the-tories/

The code to produce this is below. Note the first mutate call is reordering the factor to ensure it appears correctly and not alphabetically.

library(tidyverse)
library(RColorBrewer)
df = read_csv("Downloads/voters.csv") %>%
   gather(Impression, Value, -Voters, -Area) %>%
   mutate(Impression=factor(Impression, levels=c("Good", "Neither", "Bad")))

ggplot(df, aes(Voters, Value, fill=Impression)) +
   geom_col(position="fill") +
   coord_flip() +
   facet_wrap(~Area) +
   scale_y_continuous(labels=scales::percent) +
   scale_fill_brewer(type="div") +
   labs(x="",
        y="Voters")

I’ve also experimented with displaying proportion data as heat maps, but feel there is too much work for the reader to interpret the results. Here’s an example, with code below.

heat_map

Results of a political poll take from: https://wingsoverscotland.com/scotland-versus-the-tories/

ggplot(df, aes(Voters, Area, fill=Value)) +
   geom_raster() +
   facet_wrap(~Impression) +
   scale_fill_distiller(palette="Greens", direction=1) +
   labs(x="", y="", fill="% of\nvoters")

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