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Statistics LibreTexts

2.10: Dot Plots

Skills to Develop

  • Create and interpret dot plots
  • Judge whether a dot plot would be appropriate for a given data set

Dot plots can be used to display various types of information. Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\) uses a dot plot to display the number of M & M's of each color found in a bag of M & M's. Each dot represents a single M & M. From the figure, you can see that there were \(3\) blue M & M's, \(19\) brown M & M's, etc.

dot_plot_bag_MMs.jpg

Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): A dot plot showing the number of M & M's of various colors in a bag of M & M's

The dot plot in Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\) shows the number of people playing various card games on the Yahoo website on a Wednesday. Unlike Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\), the location rather than the number of dots represents the frequency.

dot_plot_wed_games.jpg

Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): A dot plot showing the number of people playing various card games on a Wednesday

The dot plot in Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\) shows the number of people playing on a Sunday and on a Wednesday. This graph makes it easy to compare the popularity of the games separately for the two days, but does not make it easy to compare the popularity of a given game on the two days.

games_overlaya.jpg

Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): A dot plot showing the number of people playing various card games on a Sunday and on a Wednesday

games_overlay.jpg

Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\): An alternate way of showing the number of people playing various card games on a Sunday and on a Wednesday

The dot plot in Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\) makes it easy to compare the days of the week for specific games while still portraying differences among games.

Contributors

  • Online Statistics Education: A Multimedia Course of Study (http://onlinestatbook.com/). Project Leader: David M. Lane, Rice University.