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steady increase

Interpreting Line Graphs EXERCISE 7


69 Interpreting Line Graphs STATISTICAL TECHNIQUE IN REVIEW Tables and fi gures are commonly used to present fi ndings from studies or to provide a way for researchers to become familiar with research data. Using fi gures, researchers are able to illustrate the results from descriptive data analyses, assist in identifying patterns in data, identify changes over time, and interpret exploratory fi ndings. A line graph is a fi gure that is developed by joining a series of plotted points with a line to illustrate how a variable changes over time. A line graph fi gure includes a horizontal scale, or x -axis, and a vertical scale, or y -axis. The x -axis is used to document time, and the y -axis is used to document the mean scores or values for a variable ( Grove, Burns, & Gray, 2013 ; Plichta & Kelvin, 2013 ). Researchers might include a line graph to compare the values for three or four variables in a study or to identify the changes in groups for a selected variable over time. For example, Figure 7-1 presents a line graph that documents time in weeks on the x -axis and mean weight loss in pounds on the y -axis for an experimental group consuming a low carbohydrate diet and a control group consuming a standard diet. This line graph illustrates the trend of a strong, steady increase in the mean weight lost by the experimental or intervention group and minimal mean weight loss by the control group. EXERCISE 7 FIGURE 7-1 ■ LINE GRAPH

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