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Presentation of Quantitative Data

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Presentation of Quantitative Data

After researchers conduct quantitative research and analyse their results and data, they often present this data visually in tables and charts because it is an easier way to visualise the results they have found. There are some methods to present and display quantitative data in psychology. In this article, we will examine the presentation and display of quantitative data in psychology, using line graphs, tables, scattergrams, bar charts, and histograms.

Graphical presentation of quantitative data

Line graphs display continuous data over ‘markers’ connected by lines, to show the change in a variable over time for an individual or group.

A line graph might represent a child’s height change over time.

Presentation of Quantitative Data Line graph StudySmarter

Line graph showing the relationship between height and age, Erika Hae, StudySmarter Originals

Line graphs can also be used when the independent variable has more than one level or group to compare the groups’ scores.

For example, suppose a study compares children's reading progress in two groups, each group having been taught to read differently. A line graph might show the average reading achievement of each group per month.

Presentation of Quantitative Data Line graph groups comparison StudySmarter

Line graph comparing the results of reading scores in two groups, Erika Hae, StudySmarter Originals

Visual presentation of quantitative data: Tables

Tables present the results (means and standard deviations) of each independent variable level.

Table 1.

Means and standard deviation of the number of correctly identified targets for word and emotion for both ears.

Score

Mean

Standard Deviation

Left ear word score

9.61

2.65

Right ear word score

9.13

2.57

Left ear emotion score

10.25

3.79

Right ear emotion score

8.04

3.99

This table summarises the results of a study on the correct identification of words and emotions for each ear. The four conditions for the independent variable are given with the mean and standard deviation of the results for each condition.

Visual presentation of quantitative data: Scattergrams

Scattergrams are used to show the correlation between two different variables. Each of the dots on the graph represents the outcome of each participant. The direction of the dots indicates whether the data has a positive, negative, or zero/no correlation.

Variables can have a:

  • Positive correlation When one variable increases, the other variable also increases.

The more you study for a test, the better your test score.

Presentation of Quantitative Data Scatter plot Scattergram Positive correlation StudySmarter

Example of a scattergram showing a positive correlation, Erika Hae, StudySmarter Originals
  • Negative correlation When one variable increases, the other variable decreases, or vice versa.

The more someone works, the less free time they have.

Presentation of Quantitative Data Scatter plot Scattergram Negative correlation StudySmarter

Example of a scattergram showing a negative correlation, Erika Hae, StudySmarter Originals
  • Zero/no correlation No correlation between the variables.

Presentation of Quantitative Data Scatter plot Scattergram No correlation StudySmarter

Example of a scattergram showing zero/no correlation, Erika Hae, StudySmarter Originals

Visual presentation of quantitative data: Bar charts

Bar charts show the mean scores of different groups and they are great at presenting nominal data.

A bar chart could compare self-ratings of depression symptoms for patients who had either anti-depressants or cognitive behavioural therapy for six months.

Presentation of Quantitative Data Bar chart StudySmarter

Bar chart comparing the rating of symptoms in two treatment groups, Erika Hae, StudySmarter Originals

Visual presentation of quantitative data: Histogram

A histogram looks similar to a bar chart, but it shows continuous data to connect all the bars. The y-axis of a histogram is used to represent frequency, whereas on a bar chart this shows the value. By looking at the shape of the histogram, we can see the pattern of the entire data set.

A histogram could be used to show the percentage of students on a test (continuous scale) and the number of students who scored each percentage (frequency).

Presentation of Quantitative Data Histogram StudySmarter

Histogram showing students and their scores percentages, Erika Hae, StudySmarter Originals

Presentation of Quantitative Data - Key takeaways

  • Line graphs represent continuous data to show the change in a variable over time for an individual or group. They can also be used when the independent variable has more than one level or group to compare the groups’ results.
  • Tables usually show the results of each stage of the independent variable.
  • Scattergrams show the correlation between two variables, which can be positive, negative, or not correlated.
  • Bar charts usually show the average values of the different groups.
  • Histograms show continuous data, so all the bars are connected. A histogram shows the frequency. By looking at the shape of the histogram, we can see the pattern of the whole data set.

Frequently Asked Questions about Presentation of Quantitative Data

In psychology, common ways to present quantitative data are line graphs, tables, scattergrams, bar charts and histograms.

When data is presented graphically, it is easier to see the data set as a whole and spot trends. The interpretation of quantitative data allows us to visualise the findings in the context of the hypothesis. 

The two main methods are descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics describe the data set, such as mean and standard deviation. Inferential statistics allow us to analyse the data to see if it supports our hypothesis.

Quantitative data is to do with numbers and is measurable. For example, weight in kilograms or marks on a test.

Final Presentation of Quantitative Data Quiz

Question

What kind of graph could be used to show a child’s change in height over time?

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Answer

Line graph

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Question

What do tables usually show?

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Answer

The results (means and standard deviations) of each level in the independent variable.

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Question

What is positive correlation?

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Answer

When one variable increases, the other variable decreases.

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Question

Give an example of a negative correlation.

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Answer

The more someone works, the less free time they have.

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Question

What is zero correlation?

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Answer

There is no correlation between the variables.

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Question

What kind of graph is used to show the mean scores of different groups?


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Answer

A bar chart.

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Question

Why are all the bars of a histogram joined?

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Answer

It shows continuous data.

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Question

What does the y-axis on a histogram show?

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Answer

Frequency.

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Question

What does the shape of a histogram show?

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Answer

The pattern of the dataset.

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Question

Can line graphs be used for more than one group?

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Answer

Yes 

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Question

Why is data often presented in tables and graphs?

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Answer

So that the researcher can easily visualise the data.

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