A bar graph is a pictorial rendition of statistical data in which the independent variable can attain only certain discrete values. The dependent variable may be discrete or continuous. The most common form of bar graph is the vertical bar graph, also called a column graph.
In a vertical bar graph, values of the independent variable are plotted along a horizontal axis from left to right. Function values are shown as shaded or colored vertical bars of equal thickness extending upward from the horizontal axis to various heights.
In a horizontal bar graph, the independent variable is plotted along a vertical axis from the bottom up. Values of the function are shown as shaded or colored horizontal bars of equal thickness extending toward the right, with their left ends vertically aligned.
The following are advantages of bar graph:
- Show each data category in a frequency distribution
- Display relative numbers/proportions of multiple categories
- Summarize a large amount of data in a visual, easily intepretable form
- Make trends easier to highlight than tables do
- Estimates can be made quickly and accurately
- Permit visual guidance on accuracy and reasonableness of calculations
- Accessible to a wide audience
The following are Disadvantages of bar graph:
- often require additional explanation
- fail to expose key assumptions, causes, impacts and patterns
- can be easily manipulated to give false impressions
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