What Type of Data Does a Line Plot Show?


Larry Thompson

What Type of Data Does a Line Plot Show?

A line plot, also known as a dot plot or a strip plot, is a type of graph that visually represents data. It is particularly useful for displaying numerical data in an organized and easy-to-understand manner. Line plots are commonly used in various fields such as statistics, finance, and science to analyze trends and patterns.

Understanding Line Plots

A line plot consists of a horizontal number line, also known as the x-axis, and vertical lines or dots representing individual data points. Each dot or line on the plot represents one data point from the dataset being analyzed. The position of each dot or line on the number line indicates its corresponding value.

Line plots are used to showcase categorical or quantitative data. Categorical data represents non-numerical variables, such as colors or names, while quantitative data represents numerical variables.

Types of Data Displayed in Line Plots

Line plots are ideal for displaying several types of quantitative data:

1. Continuous Data

  • Continuous data refers to numerical values that can take any value within a given range.
  • An example of continuous data that can be displayed on a line plot is the temperature recorded at different times throughout the day.

2. Discrete Data

  • Discrete data refers to numerical values that can only take specific values within a given range.
  • An example of discrete data that can be displayed on a line plot is the number of students present in a classroom during different periods throughout the day.

3. Time Series Data

  • Time series data refers to data that is collected over regular intervals of time.
  • An example of time series data that can be displayed on a line plot is the stock prices of a particular company over the course of a month.

Benefits of Line Plots

Line plots offer several advantages for visualizing and interpreting data:

  • Simplicity: Line plots are straightforward and easy to understand, making them suitable for both professionals and non-experts.
  • Trends and Patterns: By connecting the dots or lines on a line plot, it becomes easier to identify trends, patterns, or outliers in the data.
  • Data Distribution: Line plots provide insight into the distribution of data points along the number line, allowing users to observe concentration or dispersion.


Line plots are an effective tool for displaying various types of quantitative data. Whether it’s continuous data, discrete data, or time series data, line plots provide a clear visual representation that aids in understanding trends and patterns. By incorporating line plots into your analytical toolkit, you can gain valuable insights from your data.

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