Member Training: An Introduction into the Grammar of Graphics

As it has been said a picture is worth a thousand words and so it is with graphics too. A well constructed graph can summarize information collected from tens to hundreds or even thousands of data points. But not every graph has the same power to convey complex information clearly.

Underlying every statistical graph is a structure, also known as the grammar of graphics. While basic statistical graphics programs have you create a graph ready-made, advanced graphics programs allow you to specify each element of the grammar.

Understanding how this underlying grammar works not only allows you to think strategically about how to use graphs to communicate well, it also helps you appreciate and evaluate what is being communicated in graphs you encounter. This grammar of graphics also helps you decide which type of graphics may be better suited for the information at hand by focusing on each aspect of the plot like color, symbol, lines, points and layers, for example.

This training provides an overview of the grammar of graphics. Examples are demonstrated using a web-based R-shiny app to give you a visual structure to understand and apply the grammar. Members learn how to think about a grammar from which you can create complex graphs, whether in this app, R’s ggplot2, SPSS’s GPL, or other packages.

Note: This training is an exclusive benefit to members of the Statistically Speaking Membership Program and part of the Stat’s Amore Trainings Series. Each Stat’s Amore Training is approximately 90 minutes long.

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About the Instructor

Trent D. Buskirk, PhD, received his PhD in Statistics from Arizona State University with an emphasis in Survey Sampling. Since that time Trent has developed specific expertise in Mobile and Smartphone Survey Designs and in the use of machine learning methods for developing sampling designs and adaptive survey protocols.

Trent currently serves the Director of the Center for Survey Research and as a full professor in the Department of Management Science and Information Systems at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Trent is currently the Past President of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion and the incoming Conference Chair of the American Association of Public Opinion Research and has recently been named a 2017 Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

When Trent is not working or thinking about surveys, sampling, smartphones and research in general, you can find him playing resident prince to his two princesses or playing an action packed game of pickleball or tennis!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Hafiz Basheer Ahmad says

    Dear Sir,

    I am really thankful to you for providing such a a good oppertunity . It is a great service for huminity.May God bless you


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