“This is an exercise in evaluating visual/statistical tools. Statistical analysis and the development of charts and graphs are closely linked in history and practice. In this exercise, you will develop an understanding of their application and utility.
We’ll start with Florence Nightingale, a pioneer in this field who developed one of the first mathematical models ever used as a graphic presentation. At that time, this was not an academic exercise for her but an attempt to win influence over funding in an effort to stem the spread of disease for a standing army in the field. The standard of her day for presenting findings was the written report. Even ledgers, the early form of spreadsheets were not unknown and given that she was fighting over funding, she could have opted to present her case for budget authority this way as well. By all accounts, her presentation was very effective and changed the way the military, hospitals and many other organizations developed metrics and other standards of measure when presenting complex data analysis. Often referenced as Nightingale’s Rose, open up a web page at http://www.economist.com/node/10278643 to review the presentation (the chart is displayed thumbnail size on the right side of the article, right click on it and a drop-down menu appears and then click “”view image””.) You’ll also need to review Minard’s analysis of Napolean’s Russian campaign of 1812 and Playfair’s analysis of the cost of wheat versus wage rates to compare the effectiveness of their methodologies.
Task 1: Evaluate the three charts displayed on the web page. The first is Nightingale’s original, the second is Minard’s chart and the third is Playfair’s chart. Each contains complex information displayed differently. Analyze the displays and compare and contrast them as effective displays for conveying the information they contain and on a scale of one to ten tell me how would you rate each and why. Further, today we have many types of graphics available to us inmany of the programs we use routinely, like Excel and Word. If you had to develop a chart of your own to convey the same information contained in these charts, what type of chart would you develop for each and why (i.e. pie chart, histogram, radar chart, etc.)?