What Type of Data Is a Scattergram?


Scott Campbell

A scattergram, also known as a scatter plot, is a type of data visualization tool commonly used in statistics and data analysis. It is used to display the relationship between two variables, showing how one variable changes as the other variable changes. Scattergrams are particularly useful for identifying patterns and trends in data.

What is a Scattergram?
A scattergram consists of a series of data points plotted on a graph with two axes. The horizontal axis represents one variable, while the vertical axis represents the other variable. Each data point corresponds to a set of values for both variables.

How to Interpret a Scattergram
When interpreting a scattergram, there are several key elements to consider. First, look at the overall pattern or trend of the data points.

Are they scattered randomly or do they form some sort of recognizable pattern? This can provide insights into the relationship between the variables.

Next, consider the direction of the trend. If the data points generally move from left to right as you move along the horizontal axis, this indicates a positive relationship between the variables. Conversely, if they move from right to left, it indicates a negative relationship.

  • Positive Relationship: A positive relationship means that as one variable increases, so does the other variable.
  • Negative Relationship: A negative relationship means that as one variable increases, the other variable decreases.
  • No Relationship: If there is no apparent pattern or trend in the data points, it suggests that there is no relationship between the variables.

It’s important to note that correlation does not imply causation. Just because two variables are correlated does not mean that one causes changes in another.

Scattergrams and Outliers

Outliers are extreme values that lie far away from the other data points. In a scattergram, outliers can have a significant impact on the pattern or trend observed. They can distort the relationship between the variables and make it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions.

When analyzing a scattergram, it is crucial to identify and examine any outliers present. This involves determining if they are valid data points or if they are due to errors or unusual circumstances. Outliers can be influential observations that may have a disproportionate effect on any regression lines or correlations calculated.

Scattergrams and Regression Analysis

Regression analysis is often used in conjunction with scattergrams to model and predict the relationship between variables. A regression line, also known as a line of best fit, is drawn through the scattergram to summarize the overall trend of the data points.

The slope of the regression line represents the rate of change in one variable for a unit change in the other variable. The closer the data points lie to this line, the stronger the relationship between the variables.

It’s important to understand that regression analysis assumes a linear relationship between variables. If the scattergram indicates a nonlinear relationship, alternative regression techniques may need to be employed, such as polynomial regression or non-linear regression.


In summary, a scattergram is a valuable tool for visualizing and interpreting relationships between two variables. By examining patterns, trends, and outliers in the data points, valuable insights can be gained into how changes in one variable affect another.

Remember to interpret scattergrams cautiously and consider other factors that may influence relationships before drawing conclusions. With proper analysis and understanding, scattergrams can provide valuable information for making informed decisions based on data.

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