384
$\begingroup$

Data analysis cartoons can be useful for many reasons: they help communicate; they show that quantitative people have a sense of humor too; they can instigate good teaching moments; and they can help us remember important principles and lessons.

This is one of my favorites:

XKCD irony about correlation and causation

As a service to those who value this kind of resource, please share your favorite data analysis cartoon. They probably don't need any explanation (if they do, they're probably not good cartoons!) As always, one entry per answer. (This is in the vein of the Stack Overflow question What’s your favorite “programmer” cartoon?.)

P.S. Do not hotlink the cartoon without the site's permission please.

$\endgroup$
9
  • $\begingroup$ @sharpie: are jokes out? We obviously don't want the entire site to be humor, but everyone benefits from a little educational humor in small doses. $\endgroup$
    – Shane
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Sharpie, feel free to close or reopen according to your feelings! I agree with Shane, a bit is ok, but not too much. For example, this question already included a funny cartoon. The jokes question not really a funny joke.... $\endgroup$
    – Peter Smit
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 13:58
  • 43
    $\begingroup$ These cartoons are useful too; they can be included in a lecture on a particular topic where you are trying to explain a concept (e.g. correlation/causation above). A little humor can help to keep an audience engaged. $\endgroup$
    – Shane
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 14:22
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ According to the tour, this question should be closed, since it is a question that has "too many possible answers" and since it is "primarily opinion-based". I'm not complaining, just surprised it has stayed open for this long. $\endgroup$
    – Flimm
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 10:29
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Data Science analogy to cartoon in OP. Data Scientist: I went to data science bootcamp and learned how to find correlations in big data. Those insights can be converted into big money. Statistician: But many of those correlations are spurious. Correlation does not imply causation. Data Scientist: Don't give me none of that century old statistics mumbo-jumbo. This is big data. That means the data has everything. So by definition, all relationships in the data are correct. I ring the cash register while you snooze and lose, grandpa. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 22:42

84 Answers 84

1 2
3
12
$\begingroup$

Yes, let's not jump to random forest before we work on some simpler branches!

http://www.gocomics.com/andertoons/2015/12/17 enter image description here

$\endgroup$
11
$\begingroup$

Not exactly data analysis but I had a chuckle.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
11
$\begingroup$

This one might be useful when introducing the concept of experimental and control groups.

http://www.gocomics.com/looseparts/2015/12/08

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
11
$\begingroup$

"Curve-Fitting Methods and the Messages They Send" by xkcd: https://xkcd.com/2048/

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
10
$\begingroup$

http://www.gocomics.com/frazz/2012/03/27/ enter image description here

$\endgroup$
9
$\begingroup$

A new one from XKCD, suggesting a preference for a particular plot type:

https://xkcd.com/1967/

Strictly speaking, 'violin' refers to the internal structure of the data. The external portion visible in the plot is called the 'viola.'

hover text: Strictly speaking, 'violin' refers to the internal structure of the data. The external portion visible in the plot is called the 'viola.'

$\endgroup$
8
$\begingroup$

Bush and Gorbachev in a statistical golf cart My favorite was created by Emanuel Parzen, appearing in IMA preprint 663, but this illustrates my degenerate sense of humor.

Gorbachev says to Bush: "that's a very nice golfcart, Mr. President. Can it change how statistics is practiced?" etc. hahahah.

$\endgroup$
8
$\begingroup$

Note: this is from SMBC (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) by Zach Weiner.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Correlation does not imply causation!

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Statisticians aren't easily cowed.

 Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson

$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

Source: http://www.gocomics.com/andertoons/2014/06/15#.U54J7iigS8A by Mark Anderson, June 15, 2014.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

http://www.gocomics.com/baldo/2011/08/06

$\endgroup$
1
  • 24
    $\begingroup$ Shouldn't it be x-variable? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 14:34
4
$\begingroup$

More of a math cartoon than a data analysis cartoon, but also one that makes you think a bit.

http://www.gocomics.com/barneyandclyde/2013/11/12/?view=full#.UoI73-KQOfs enter image description here

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Gahan Wilson died this week; having presented many a confusing graph myself, I can relate to this: enter image description here

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

From Richard MceElreath's Twitter (October 8th, 2022; source)

Estimand - estimator - estimate

$\endgroup$
0
3
$\begingroup$

Overfitting -explanation in a picture (original cartoon) Overfitting -explanation in a picture

$\endgroup$
3
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Giving a source would be good practice. Pity about the typo (split infinitives are acceptable to me). $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ I created the cartoon. Got that result, found it amazing and added the text. What is the typo? How would you phrase the titles? $\endgroup$
    – DaL
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ Fine; so you are fully entitled to claim "(original cartoon)". You fixed the typo I saw (allways for always). $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 12:54
3
$\begingroup$

enter image description here

True if $P=NP$

enter image description here

True if $P \ne NP$

This is great one about solving NP-complete problems. They come up a lot on the job, like efficient scheduling or how to select the optimal configuration among a number of various options for which you have to search through them all to find the best one.

Think about it anytime you need to cop out of something difficult at work!

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Draw your own data , found it in the below link

[New Year] : http://robertgrantstats.co.uk/drawmydata.html

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Jenkin math joke

The cartoon can actually be found here https://thejenkinscomic.wordpress.com/

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

This is for the queueing theory people. or should I say queue-cumbers ;)

![](https://www.reddit.com/media?url=https%3A%2F%2Fi.redd.it%2Fyot4whki56631.jpg)

(source)

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

enter image description here Loose Parts by Dave Blazek 1/10/2018

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Frequentism vs Bayesian meet causal inference.

enter image description here

enter image description here

(source)

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Illustration by Julia Suits, author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions, and The New Yorker cartoonist.

$\endgroup$
1 2
3

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