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Dot Plots, Histograms, and Box Plots

Compare/Contrast Matrix
Dot Plots Histograms Box Plots
Characteristics for
Comparison
We can find the median in a dot Histograms cannot usually convey Box plots readily display the
plot by counting the data points the median since their data are median as the center line inside
and finding the middle one, or the described in ranges, not individual the “box.”
Shows the average of the middle two. points.
Median

Yes, we can manually count the As long as the particular value is Box plots cannot tell us anything
Tells how many number of data points above or dividing two of the value ranges, about the number of points.
below a particular value. histograms are quick at displaying They only display the ranges and
data points are the number of data points above general distribution of the data.
above or below a or below the particular value.
particular value

Dot plots display each data point Histograms provide readily Box plots excel at displaying a
individually. This lets us see the accessible representations of the data’s skew. The skew is toward
skew, but it may not be as obvious skew. whichever side has the median
Describes the as on histograms or box plots. and quartile lines closer together.
skew of the data

Since dot plots show every data Histograms excel at displaying the Box plots do not tell us anything
point, they can show us the modes mode or modes of a data set. about the modes of a data set.
of the data. This information is They are found at local “peaks” in
Conveys not as clear as in Histograms, the plot.
Modality however.

Dot plots show outliers, but they Similar to dot plots, histograms Box plots are best for identifying
may not be as obvious as in other can indeed show outliers. They outliers, as they are marked with
plots. They can be recognized as are small bumps in the graph special symbols.
Indicates lone points separated from the away from the main body of the
Outliers bulk of the rest of the data. plot.

Hand drawn
example
of a typical plot