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Re: st: Alternatives to box plots

From   Nick Cox <>
Subject   Re: st: Alternatives to box plots
Date   Thu, 21 Mar 2013 17:42:06 +0000

Don't disagree.

One practical detail: I gather that box plots are widely used in U.S.
high schools, and perhaps elsewhere in pre-university courses.

So one of several biases could be that textbook writers want to build
on what the students should already know.

I want to keep emphasising that a box plot will almost always be
better than no plot. It is just that sometimes some other plot will be
better than a box plot.


On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 5:29 PM, JVerkuilen (Gmail)
<> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM, Nick Cox <> wrote:
>> Worth noting that John Tukey in his Exploratory data analysis (Reading, MA,
>> Addison-Wesley, 1977) did include a detailed example making it clear that
>> box plots could no do justice to bimodality.
> I'm not at all surprised that Tukey said that, but the limits of the
> technique have been slowly eroded in the standard textbook
> presentation. As I said, I think boxplots are a great tool, but there
> are others, and in our rush to simplify things in the curriculum we
> often present a lot of material as "here's how you do it" without a
> really serious "here's why you do it" to go with.
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