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Todd Sheppard

Live Oak Bank

Rigged data! Check out these 9 ways to spin charts

Rigged data! Check out these 9 ways to spin charts

There are probably more ways to spin your data with charts than there are to leave your lover. The example below comes from an article that lists five ways.


Not listed in that article are a several that Daily Data runs across often. In the last 24 hours we have seen these four


  1. Selecting only part of a dataset to chart.
  2. Charting categories that have been averaged out in ways that conceal trends that don’t match a point trying to be proved.
  3. Discussing data from one data set in text while illustrating another dataset in a chart (without calling attention to the difference).
  4. Failing to provide adequate significance context.

Until we get around to discussing that chart (probably next week) enjoy the one below.

It is also important to recognize that not every wayward chart is a deliberate attempt to mislead. Inattention, accidents, and inexperience can also contribute.


Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 5.09.48 AMSource: Source: Nautilus