240 - Scientific Graphs: An Alternative to PowerPoint and Excel

Session Type: ACR Workshops
Tuesday, November 8, 2011: 4:00 PM-6:00 PM
W178b (McCormick Place West)

Session Overview:
This workshop is an introduction to the principles of good graph design as pioneered by Cleveland and Tufte so that the participant can better understand scientific graphs. Participants will learn to recognize which messages in research results require a graph, how graphs improve on simple statistics and convey much more information. It is important to understand that in order to convey the message in a useful way, one must strive for clear vision by choice of graph, scaling, discrimination of data series, minimizing non-data ink, avoiding chart junk. Striving for clear understanding through a balance between data and explanation is equally important. Additionally, the truthfulness of a graph must be sustained by creating a direct proportion between graph and data quantities, avoiding forms prone to misinterpretation, labels to prevent ambiguity; keeping data in context, avoiding more dimensions in the graph than in the data.

This workshop is an excerpt of a more extensive full-day training available on site, on request.


Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:

  • identify what part of the results of a scientific project is appropriate for graphing
  • select the type of graph best suited to convey the message
  • recognize and apply basic principles of scientific graph design for publication and presentation

Speaker: Maarten Boers, MD, MSc, PhD, VU University Medical Center
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