How to Graph Decimals

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You want to make a graph of your data because this will show your audience the shape and trends you have observed. You are stuck, however, because your data set has decimals and you are unsure how to graph those. Decimals are fractions written in a specific, shorthand-form based on a denominator of 10, 100, 1000s or another number that has a base of 10. You can graph with decimals in the same way you graph whole numbers, however you must adjust your number scales to include these fractional equivalents.

    Arrange your data in a single column from lowest to highest value.

    An example is:

    0.2 0.44 0.45 0.58 0.58 0.67 1 2 3 4

    Compose your vertical scale, which includes the values of the data points, to include a range of numbers that includes both the lowest and the highest number in your dataset. In this example increments of .5 or ½ provide a nice visual representation of your dataset. The range is from zero to 4.5.

    In this example:

    0 .5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5

    Mark off values for the horizontal scale for your graph in increments of one, as you need to mark off a spot for each individual observation. Since there are 10 observations in this sample, the scale would range from zero to 10. Include the zero value so you can intersect your horizontal axis with your vertical axis.

    Denote the values of each data point by finding the intersection between the horizontal and vertical scales. Put a dot, star or bar at the intersection of the value of 1 or the first value in your data set and at the .2 value, which is about one-third of the way between the 0 and .5 values on the vertical axis.

References

About the Author

Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.

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