What Type of Graph Is Used for Ordinal Data?


Scott Campbell

When it comes to representing data, different types of graphs are used depending on the nature of the data. One important consideration is whether the data is ordinal or not. Ordinal data is a type of categorical data that has a natural order or ranking.

What is ordinal data?
Ordinal data represents categories that can be ordered or ranked. For example, a survey asking respondents to rate their satisfaction level as “Very Satisfied,” “Satisfied,” “Neutral,” “Dissatisfied,” or “Very Dissatisfied” produces ordinal data. The order of the categories matters, but the numerical difference between them may not be consistent.

Why use graphs for ordinal data?
Graphs are powerful visual tools that help in understanding and interpreting complex information quickly. They provide a visual representation of the relationships between variables and make it easier to identify patterns, trends, and comparisons within the data.

Which graph should you use for ordinal data?
The most commonly used graph for representing ordinal data is a bar graph. Bar graphs are effective in illustrating the frequency or distribution of categories in an ordered manner.

Creating a Bar Graph for Ordinal Data

To create a bar graph for your ordinal data, follow these steps:

Step 1: Determine the Categories

Identify and list all the categories you want to represent on your graph. In our example of satisfaction levels, these would be: “Very Satisfied,” “Satisfied,” “Neutral,” “Dissatisfied,” and “Very Dissatisfied.”

Step 2: Determine the Frequency

Count how many times each category appears in your dataset. This will give you an idea of the frequency or distribution of each category.

Step 3: Create Axes and Labels

Draw two perpendicular lines intersecting at right angles to form the axes of your graph. Label the horizontal axis (x-axis) with the categories and the vertical axis (y-axis) with the frequency or percentage.

Step 4: Draw Bars

Starting from the baseline, draw rectangular bars for each category. The height of each bar represents the frequency or percentage of that category.

Step 5: Add Styling Elements

To make your graph visually engaging, you can add styling elements using HTML tags. For example, you can use bold text to emphasize important labels or headings. You can also use underlined text to highlight specific information.


When working with ordinal data, a bar graph is an effective way to represent the categories in an ordered manner. By following the above steps and incorporating HTML styling elements like bold and underlined text, you can create visually engaging graphs that effectively communicate your data.

Remember to always consider the nature of your data and choose a graph type that best represents it. With proper use of HTML styling elements, your graphs can not only be informative but also visually appealing and engaging.

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