Compare multiple groups on one quantitative variable

To compare the shape, center, and/or spread of two sets of data, we make plots of both on the SAME scale.  

Applets: Compare groups with histograms ||| Compare groups with boxplots

The crucial idea here is that the scale of the variable should be the same for all the graphs you are comparing in order to make it easy to compare. Since software will automatically scale the chosen graph, based on the data values, you cannot achieve this by asking for these graphs separately and then comparing them. Instead you must give the software all the data at the same time.

When you provide your data on multiple groups to the software, there are two different ways it can be done: stacked data or unstacked data. You must tell the software which way you will use so that it will know how to interpret the data you provide.


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