What Type of Graph Should Be Used for Displaying Continuous Data?


Angela Bailey

When it comes to displaying continuous data, choosing the right type of graph is crucial. The graph you choose should effectively communicate the patterns and trends present in your data, making it easier for your audience to understand and interpret the information. In this article, we will explore different types of graphs that are commonly used for displaying continuous data.

Line Graphs

Line graphs are one of the most commonly used types of graphs for displaying continuous data. They are particularly useful when you want to show the change in a variable over time. Line graphs consist of a series of data points connected by lines, with each point representing a specific value at a particular time or interval.


To illustrate this, let’s consider a study that tracks the average monthly temperature in a city over a year. The x-axis represents the months (time), and the y-axis represents the temperature.

Each data point represents the average temperature for a specific month. By connecting these points with lines, we can visualize how the temperature changes over time.

Scatter Plots

Scatter plots are another useful type of graph for displaying continuous data. They are effective when you want to investigate relationships between two variables. Scatter plots consist of individual data points plotted on a graph, with each point representing a unique combination of values from two variables.


Let’s say you want to examine the relationship between hours studied and test scores among students. The x-axis represents hours studied, and the y-axis represents test scores.

Each student’s data is plotted as an individual point on the graph. By analyzing how these points cluster or disperse on the graph, you can determine whether there is any correlation between hours studied and test scores.


Histograms are particularly useful when you want to visualize the distribution of continuous data. They display the frequency or count of data falling within specific intervals or bins. Histograms consist of bars, where the height of each bar represents the frequency of data within a specific range.


Suppose you have collected data on the heights of individuals in a population. The x-axis represents height intervals (e.g., 150-160cm, 160-170cm), and the y-axis represents the frequency or count of individuals falling within each interval. By examining the shape and distribution of the bars, you can gain insights into the overall distribution pattern of heights in your population.

Box Plots

Box plots, also known as box-and-whisker plots, are useful for displaying summary statistics and comparing distributions. They provide a visual representation of key statistics such as quartiles, median, and outliers. Box plots consist of a box that represents interquartile range (IQR), with lines extending from it (whiskers) representing variations beyond this range.


For instance, let’s say you want to compare the salaries of employees in different departments of a company. Each box plot would represent one department’s salary distribution.

The box would show the IQR, while any outliers would be displayed as individual points outside the whiskers. By comparing these box plots, you can easily identify differences in salaries between departments.


Different types of graphs serve different purposes when it comes to displaying continuous data. Line graphs are ideal for showing trends over time, scatter plots help analyze relationships between variables, histograms illustrate distribution patterns, and box plots provide summary statistics and comparisons. By selecting an appropriate graph based on your data and objective, you can effectively communicate your findings to your audience.

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