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Recognizing Deceptive and Misleading Graphs

Good graphs are extremely powerful tools for displaying large quantities of complex data; they help turn the reams of information available today into knowledge. But, unfortunately, some graphs deceive or mislead. This may happen because the designer chooses to give readers the impression of better performance or results than is actually the situation. In other cases, the person who prepares the graph may want to be accurate and honest, but may mislead the reader by a poor choice of a graph form or poor graph construction. The software used might produce misleading graphs. If you read graphs in your business or in the newspapers or other journals, the ability to recognize deceptive and misleading graphs will avoid your making poor decisions based on a misunderstanding of the data. If you also prepare graphs, this knowledge will save you from the loss of credibility with resultant loss of business that comes from producing misleading graphs. Examples come from annual reports, medical literature, and other fields.

This talk is appropriate for a noontime or evening program.

DURATION: 45 minutes.