Types of Graphs

Types of Graphs

Author: Nathan Lampson

Scientific data can be represented in a variety of ways. Learn about common types of graphs, such as pie charts and line graphs, and identify how they are used to show specific information. By comparing and contrasting different types of graphs, you will be able to choose the right kind of graph when presenting scientific data.

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Pie Chart


Pie charts are used to show parts of a whole.  This pie chart shows what kind of lunch all of the students in the school requested.  There are 195 students in the 11th grade.  Out of the 195 students, 91 want pizza, 76 want a hot dog, and 28 would like pasta.

Bar Graph


Bar graphs work well to compare groups of data.  When there are many groups of data that are very different, a bar graph is a great way to show results.  This bar graph shows the favorite animals for a class of 26 students.  In the classroom, 10 students' favorite animal is the whale, 7 students like turtles, 4 students prefer dogs, 3 students enjoy tigers, and 2 students are into snakes.

Line Graph


Line graphs show changes over time.  In this line graph, the outdoor temperature in °F from 10AM to 5PM is shown.