What is the difference between a scatter plot and a line graph? Provide an example of each. Does one seem better than the other?

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quantatanu | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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suppose you have the following data points:

x      y

0      0

1      10

2      -4

3      5

if you just put the points on a graph paper with dots for those 4 above points just, then this is a "scatter plot" because it will look like a picture of scattered dots. 

But if you join those point by a nice line, then the plot becomes a "line plot".

Scattered plot is usually used for statistical data, that is for example:


day                             number of students in a class

1                                10

2                                 9

3                                 11

4                                 10

5                                 11

6                                  5

7                                 0

where 1=monday, 2=tuesday,...,7=sunday. 

And line plots are preferred when you plot an equation like:

y=2 x

here data will be:

x           y

0          0

0.5       1.0

1           2

1.1       2.2

3          6

etc etc.


Both kind of plots are useful but it depends on the need. In case of statistical data analysis "scatter plots" may be preferred and for plotting mathematical law or equation "line plot" will be preferred more.

If you still have queries, please comment.


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