How to Calculate a Normalized Curve

By Samuel Markings
Generate a normalized graph using a simple calculator.

The collection of experimental data is fundamental to experimental science. It is common practice to plot the experimental data upon a graph to help in the identification of trends. Sometimes, the absolute magnitude of the data is not important, but instead the relative variation has importance. In such cases, you can normalize the experimental data which involves scaling it to within the range of zero and one, using a calculator.

Write down the raw data in a table format. For example:

D H 0 10 1 15 2 10

Normalize the data in the second column. To normalize the data, find the peak value in the column. Following the example, the peak value is 15m. Make a third column and label it "Normalized data." Use the following formula to calculate the normalized values for column 3: column 3 = column 2 / peak value in column 2

Following the example, the following table will be made:

D H Normalized H 0 10 0.666 1 15 1.000 2 10 0.666

Draw a standard x-y graph, and label the x-axis accordingly. Label the y-axis "Normalized Data." Plot column one of the table as the x value and column 3 as the y value.

About the Author

Samuel Markings has been writing for scientific publications for more than 10 years, and has published articles in journals such as "Nature." He is an expert in solid-state physics, and during the day is a researcher at a Russell Group U.K. university.