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HDFS 2320 - Research Methods in Human Development and Family Studies

Learn how to locate and evaluate research across the human lifespan with an emphasis on families

Understanding graphs

Diagrams and charts are important because they present information visually. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” applies when it comes diagrams and charts. 

When you read an article,

  • Don’t skip over diagrams and graphs when reading!
  • These visual aids provide summaries or can illustrate a complex process; understanding how to read them is a very efficient way to learn material.
  • When tackling diagrams or graphs, pay attention to:
    • Captions: What clues about the illustration can you gain from the general description?
    • Labels: Can you define or describe the items labeled? If not, reread the text.
    • Directionality: Are there arrows, numbers or letters that orient the illustration?
  • The Big Picture: Do you notice any trends in data? Can you draw conclusions about relationships among items on a diagram?

Take the following lessons on:

Or watch this video to understand statistical graphs and when to use them.