Graphs and tables are great ways of displaying large amounts of data in
a concise format, but they can also deceive, whether that was the intent of
the creator or not. Here are some things to look for when reading graphs
- For a table, look for abnormally large or small numbers. These may represent typographical errors or other mistakes.
- Ensure that no information contradicts common sense or anything that you know to be true. For example, if a person is listed as working 25 hours in a day, that's probably a problem.
- For a graph, check whether the y-axis starts at 0. If not, the graph may give the impression of depicting much greater increase or decrease than reality.
- Another factor that can make graphs deceptive is multiple scales on the same axis. Watch for this one.