What Type of Graph Is Best for Qualitative Data?


Heather Bennett

When it comes to displaying qualitative data, choosing the right type of graph is essential. The type of graph you choose can greatly impact the clarity and effectiveness of your data presentation. In this article, we will explore different types of graphs that are best suited for qualitative data and how to use them effectively.

Bar Graphs

Bar graphs are one of the most common and effective ways to represent qualitative data. They are simple yet powerful in visually comparing different categories or groups. Bar graphs can be used to represent nominal or ordinal data.

To create a bar graph, you can use the <canvas> element in HTML along with JavaScript libraries like Chart.js or D3.js. These libraries provide easy-to-use functions for creating interactive and visually appealing bar graphs.

Pie Charts

Pie charts are another popular choice for displaying qualitative data. They are particularly useful when you want to show the proportion or percentage distribution of different categories in a dataset.

To create a pie chart, you can again use JavaScript libraries like Chart. These libraries provide functions specifically designed for creating pie charts with customizable colors and labels.

Stacked Bar Graphs

A stacked bar graph is an excellent choice when you want to compare multiple variables within each category. It allows you to visualize both the individual values as well as the total value for each category.

To create a stacked bar graph, you can use the same JavaScript libraries mentioned earlier. These libraries provide options for stacking bars on top of each other while maintaining clear differentiation between different variables.

Radar Charts

Radar charts are ideal for comparing multiple variables across different categories simultaneously. They are particularly useful when you want to highlight patterns or relationships between variables.

To create a radar chart, you can again utilize JavaScript libraries like Chart. These libraries offer functions to create radar charts with customizable axes and labels.


Choosing the right type of graph for qualitative data is crucial for effective data visualization. Whether it’s bar graphs, pie charts, stacked bar graphs, or radar charts, each type has its own strengths and weaknesses. By considering the nature of your data and the purpose of your visualization, you can select the most suitable graph type to convey your message accurately and clearly.

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