My data are differences of two values. I try to show the data with points (two per "x-axis-value") and their mean as bars. See here: means as barplots

I feel that bars could be misleading insofar as they imply a continuous range of values and not just the mean. On the other hand, bars are much more noticeable for comparative purposes.

Secondly, here is a plot with means shown as horizontal "lines". They are likely more appropriate for showing a mean but I find it hard to compare the means and place the indivdual points with respect to the means by eye.

Here is the second plot:

means as "lines"

If I would use the first plot in a thesis, do you think this will be found faulty, so to say?

| cite | improve this question | | | | |
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you have just 2 points in each case? If so, the mean is not adding much information. You could consider omitting it entirely. $\endgroup$ – mkt - Reinstate Monica Jun 6 '19 at 10:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The vertical lines connecting the points (for each X-axis value) are also a bit redundant, especially the bit connecting them to the X-axis when both values are >0 $\endgroup$ – mkt - Reinstate Monica Jun 6 '19 at 10:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In addition to mkt's point, in some cases (green bar) the line extends to zero but probably there are not points there? $\endgroup$ – usεr11852 Jun 6 '19 at 10:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Two points and optionally a short line showing the mean seem reasonable. I wouldn't extend the line to zero as seems to arise in two or three cases. On a different level, we can't speak for people reading your thesis, just for ourselves. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Jun 6 '19 at 11:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't know what these data are really, but imagine that whether the mean is positive or negative could be of interest. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Jun 6 '19 at 16:44

I came up with a revision:

1.) The lines connecting the points are now substituted by a background color (pairs of colors here are just options), (points are now bars)

2.) mean is left out

enter image description here

| cite | improve this answer | | | | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.