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Multivariate Display From Quipus to Faces NSF

Wainer, Howard
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Science Foundation (NSF), Data Analysis, Graphs, Multivariate Analysis, Tables (Data), Visual Aids


The past decade has seen a substantial growth in methods and schemes for the display of multivariate data. This paper encompasses a sketch of the history of multivariate displays, from the Pre-Columbian Quipu to Chernoff's face; examines a number of techniques; describes their construction; illustrates their use; and comments on their efficacy. The use of several of these methods is illustrated on social indicators data gathered in the study that Angoff and Mencken did a half century ago in their search for the worst American state. The communicative role of the data table is examined with inside-out plots. Function plots, polygons, tree and face displays are discussed. The issues in "seeing" versus "reading" a display consider Ehrenberg's guidelines. (Author/CM). (69pp.)

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