How Is a Scatter Plot Created?


Quick Answer

A scatter plot is created by mapping the quantitative data values of a dependent variable with respect to the quantitative data values of an independent variable. The data points are plotted on a graph, known as the Cartesian (x,y) coordinate plane, where the horizontal line represents the x-axis and the vertical line represents the y-axis.

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Full Answer

A scatter plot is indicative of the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. This relationship is referred to as a "correlation." A positive correlation means the data values of both variables increment together, extending in a slanting straight line from the origin at (0,0) to increasing x and y values. A negative correlation means the data values of one variable decrement as the values of the other variable increment, going from high y values to gradually decreasing x values. A perfect positive correlation is designated the value of one while a perfect negative correlation has a negative one value. A scatter plot that illustrates no correlation is given the value of zero.

Data values that are clustered together are said to have a high correlation. A graphical tool called a "line of best fit" is helpful in showing the general trend of the data values. The distribution of data points becomes visually apparent by drawing the line of best fit in such a way that it lies on as many possible plotted values on the graph.

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