Violin Plots: A Variation of Box Plots for Skewed Data

Unleashing the Power of Violin Plots===

Box plots are widely used in data analysis and visualization, but they have limitations when it comes to skewed data. A violin plot is a variation of the traditional box plot that can more accurately represent skewed distributions. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of violin plots and why they are an essential tool for data analysis.

The violin plot was first introduced by L. Wilkinson in 1999. It is similar to a box plot in that it displays the median, quartiles, and outliers of a dataset. However, instead of using a box and whisker plot, a violin plot adds a kernel density plot to the side of the plot. This allows for additional information about the distribution of data to be displayed, making it particularly useful for skewed data.

Say Goodbye to Misleading Box Plots with Skewed Data

Box plots are a popular tool for displaying numerical data, but they can be misleading when the data is highly skewed. Skewed data occurs when one tail of the data distribution is longer than the other. For example, if the majority of the data falls in the lower range of values, but there are a few extreme values that are much higher, this creates a right-skewed distribution. Box plots can obscure this information, as the whiskers are based on a fixed range rather than the actual distribution of the data.

This is where the violin plot shines. The addition of the kernel density plot allows for a clear visual representation of the skewed data. The shape of the violin plot will appear thinner on the side where there is less data, and thicker on the side where there is more data. This allows for a more accurate depiction of the distribution and can help identify outliers and clusters of data.

In addition, violin plots can be stacked or overlaid to compare distributions across multiple groups. This is particularly useful in fields such as medical research, where distributions of patient data can be compared across different treatment groups or disease states.

Unleashing the Power of Violin Plots===

When it comes to displaying skewed data, the traditional box plot can be misleading. The violin plot offers a more accurate and informative visualization, with the added benefit of displaying the distribution of the data. Whether you’re performing statistical analysis or presenting data to stakeholders, the violin plot should be a tool in your data visualization arsenal. So next time you encounter skewed data, give the violin plot a try.

Youssef Merzoug

I am eager to play a role in future developments in business and innovation and proud to promote a safer, smarter and more sustainable world.