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Merging Graphics and Text to Better Convey Experimental Results: Designing an “Enhanced Bar Graph”

  • William D. Berry (a1) and Matthew Hauenstein (a1)

We propose a format for presenting experimental results that combines a graph’s strength in facilitating general-pattern recognition with a table’s strength in displaying numerical results. The format supplements a conventional bar graph with additional text labels and graphics but also can be based on a dot plot. The resulting enhanced bar graph conveys general patterns about treatment effects; displays point estimates and confidence intervals for all key quantities of interest relevant to testing hypotheses (e.g., first differences in the mean of the dependent variable); and clarifies the interpretation of these quantities as treatment effects. Presenting information in a single figure avoids the need to devote scarce journal space to both a graph and a table. Moreover, an enhanced bar graph prevents readers from having to move back and forth between a graph and a table of numerical results—thereby reducing their cognitive load and facilitating their understanding of the findings.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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