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Statistical Graphics: Mapping the Pathways of Science EDA

Wainer, Howard; Velleman, Paul F.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graphics, Graphical modeling (Statistics), Statistics, Exploratory Data Analysis


In this paper the authors trace the evolution of statistical graphics from its departure from the common noun structure of Cartesian determinism, through William Playfair's revolutionary grammatical shift to graphs as proper nouns and alight on the modern conception of graph as an active participant in the scientific process of discovery. The ubiquitous availability of data, software, and cheap, high-powered computing when coupled with the broad acceptance of the ideas in Tukey's 1977 treatise on exploratory data analysis has yielded a fundamental change in the way that the role of statistical graphics is thought of within science--as a dynamic partner and guide to the future rather than as a static monument to the discoveries of the past. The authors commemorate and illustrate this development while pointing readers to the new tools available and provide some indications of their potential.

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