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Creating simple bar charts of group means

From: SPSS Statistics Essential Training (2011)

Video: Creating simple bar charts of group means

In this section on charts for the associations between variables, we've looked at how we can depict the association between two categorical variables, for example, with clustered bar charts, and the association between two scale variables, for example, scatter plots. At this point, we'll move on to charts that show the association between two kinds of variables. THat is, charts that look at one categorical variable and how's it's connected with the scale variable. Whereas the other combinations of variables had clear preferences for the charts.

Creating simple bar charts of group means

In this section on charts for the associations between variables, we've looked at how we can depict the association between two categorical variables, for example, with clustered bar charts, and the association between two scale variables, for example, scatter plots. At this point, we'll move on to charts that show the association between two kinds of variables. THat is, charts that look at one categorical variable and how's it's connected with the scale variable. Whereas the other combinations of variables had clear preferences for the charts.

there are actually several useful options for charting associations for categorical and scale variables in combination. The first of these is a simple variation on the bar chart, adapted to show the mean score for each group. In this example, I am going to use the GSS dataset and I'm going to show family income as a function of the highest level of education of the respondent. To do that, I first go up to Graphs and click on the Chart Builder. From there, I come down to Bar in the Gallery and I simply drag this simple bar into the canvas.

On the X-axis, I am going to put my categorical predictor variable, which is the highest degree of education. That's called highest degree, and I drag that down to X-axis. Now on the left of that, on the Y-axis it says Count. However, if I come to the variable list and I get family income and I drag that over, it changes from Count to Mean. That's because it's a scale variable. Now if I wanted to, I could get other statistics. I could get the Median, the Group Median, the Mode, and truthfully, a very large range of statistics, but I am going to leave it with the Mean.

I am going to do one small variation, however. I am going to ask it to put on what are called error bars confidence intervals. These give some sort of indication of what the difference might be in the general population, as opposed to just a sample. Once I check that, then I need to come down and click Apply and then I come over to the box and I click OK. And here we see five bars that show different levels of education, from Did Not Finish High School, which has an average family income of about $20,000 a year in this particular data set, off through Bachelor's Degree and Graduate Degree, which have averages of about $50,000 a year in this particular data set.

Now I do feel it's important to clean this chart up a little bit, so like the others what I'm going to do is I am going to double-click on it and I am going to make a few clarifications, because you want to reduce the amount of clutter in the chart. So what I am going to do first, so I am going to click on this thing that says Error Bars and just delete that. Then I am going to change the error bars, because I find the end to them distracting. I come up to Bar Options and change them to just Whiskers here under Boxplot and Error Bar Styles. Click OK. I am going to change the color of the bars. I find that an unattractive color.

Maybe I will make it a light green and then I might want to make the text here a little bit larger. Now I could do something interesting when I do that. There we go. It just changes the space a little bit and I find this to be a much clearer diagram of the relationship between the two. So I am going to close this now. I'll close there and then I'll come up to the editing window and click the red X and there you have it. A bar chart that shows the association between income and between levels of education.

So bar charts are a great way to show the association between categorical variables and scale variables in general. They are very clean and very easy to interpret. As a note, one of the nice things about SPSS is that it keeps things clean. So while it's possible to edit the bars and give them shadows or a foster dimension, those options are hidden, which is good, because they are almost always bad ideas. Those sorts of effects are often called chart junk and most spreadsheets and presentation packages make it way too easy to engage in these unfortunate practices.

SPSS on the other hand keeps thing simple, keeps them clean, and keeps them easy to interpret, which is the entire purpose of data graphics. Anyhow, with that in mind, we'll move from bar charts to a fancier kind of display for the association between a dichotomous variable, that is one which has two categories and a scale variable, using something called a population pyramid.

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Image for SPSS Statistics Essential Training (2011)
SPSS Statistics Essential Training (2011)

52 video lessons · 19300 viewers

Barton Poulson
Author

 
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  1. 2m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 5s
    2. Using the exercise files
      40s
    3. Using a different version of the software
      1m 13s
  2. 19m 0s
    1. Taking a first look at the interface
      11m 49s
    2. Reading data from a spreadsheet
      7m 11s
  3. 21m 54s
    1. Creating bar charts for categorical variables
      7m 18s
    2. Creating pie charts for categorical variables
      2m 54s
    3. Creating histograms for quantitative variables
      5m 45s
    4. Creating box plots for quantitative variables
      5m 57s
  4. 33m 10s
    1. Recoding variables
      5m 33s
    2. Recoding with visual binning
      5m 33s
    3. Recoding by ranking cases
      5m 26s
    4. Computing new variables
      5m 37s
    5. Combining or excluding outliers
      5m 21s
    6. Transforming outliers
      5m 40s
  5. 28m 12s
    1. Selecting cases
      6m 44s
    2. Using the Split File command
      5m 12s
    3. Merging files
      5m 33s
    4. Using the Multiple Response command
      10m 43s
  6. 22m 14s
    1. Calculating frequencies
      8m 43s
    2. Calculating descriptives
      5m 31s
    3. Using the Explore command
      8m 0s
  7. 16m 3s
    1. Calculating inferential statistics for a single proportion
      6m 6s
    2. Calculating inferential statistics for a single mean
      5m 39s
    3. Calculating inferential statistics for a single categorical variable
      4m 18s
  8. 30m 43s
    1. Creating clustered bar charts
      7m 10s
    2. Creating scatterplots
      5m 8s
    3. Creating time series
      3m 24s
    4. Creating simple bar charts of group means
      4m 17s
    5. Creating population pyramids
      3m 0s
    6. Creating simple boxplots for groups
      3m 3s
    7. Creating side-by-side boxplots
      4m 41s
  9. 45m 28s
    1. Calculating correlations
      8m 17s
    2. Computing a bivariate regression
      6m 27s
    3. Creating crosstabs for categorical variables
      6m 34s
    4. Comparing means with the Means procedure
      6m 33s
    5. Comparing means with the t-test
      6m 4s
    6. Comparing means with a one-way ANOVA
      6m 30s
    7. Comparing paired means
      5m 3s
  10. 24m 30s
    1. Creating clustered bar charts for frequencies
      6m 34s
    2. Creating clustered bar charts for means
      3m 45s
    3. Creating scatterplots by group
      4m 13s
    4. Creating 3-D scatterplots
      4m 25s
    5. Creating scatterplot matrices
      5m 33s
  11. 30m 57s
    1. Using Automatic Linear Models
      11m 52s
    2. Calculating multiple regression
      9m 3s
    3. Comparing means with a two-factor ANOVA
      10m 2s
  12. 29m 29s
    1. Formatting descriptive statistics
      6m 1s
    2. Formatting correlations
      7m 49s
    3. Formatting regression
      10m 19s
    4. Exporting charts and tables
      5m 20s
  13. 51s
    1. What's next
      51s

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