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Scatterplots vs Bubble Graphs: What’s the Difference?‍

Scatterplots vs Bubble Graphs

Scatterplots vs Bubble Graphs

Scatterplots and bubble graphs are powerful tools for visualizing data and making connections between different variables. But what’s the difference between these two types of graphs?

In this guide, we will explain the concept of scatterplots and bubble graphs including their advantages and disadvantages. By the end of this guide, you will be able to interpret scatterplots and bubble graphs to understand your data.

What Is a Scatterplot?

A scatterplot, also known as a scatter graph, scatter chart, or XY chart, is a type of graph for visualizing the relationship between two numerical values. For instance, it could be the relationship between the amount of money spent on advertising and the number of sales made.

In a scatterplot, the values for each variable are represented by a point on the graph, where each point is plotted on the X and Y axes. The X axis (or independent variable) refers to the variable that is being changed, while the Y axis (or dependent variable) refers to the variable that is being observed and recorded as the value changes.

In the example below, we have a scatter plot showing the relationship between height and weight. As expected, it has a positive relationship meaning that data points trend upwards from left to right.

Scatterplot

What Is a Bubble Graph?

A bubble graph, or bubble chart, is another type of graph that you can use to visualize the relationship between two numerical values. A bubble graph is essentially a scatterplot with bubbles on the graph that emphasize certain aspects of the data.

The bubbles in a bubble graph show the relative size of two values that you can compare. Bubble graphs are useful for comparing data that you are measuring on two different scales.

For example, the graph below shows the total sales amount on the y-axis. Next, the x-axis shows the number of products sold. The size of each bubble represents the percentage of market share.

Bubble Graph

Advantages of Scatterplots and Bubble Graphs

Here are some of the major advantages and disadvantages of these types of graphs:

  • Scatterplots and bubble graphs are great ways to visualize the relationship between two numerical variables. The data points plotted on the graph help readers understand both the direction and strength of the relationship between these two variables.
  • Scatterplots and bubble graphs are very easy to construct and offer a simple way to visually represent your data. In addition, they are easy to interpret and can be understood by a wide range of readers, regardless of their level of expertise.
  • Bubble graphs are particularly useful for comparing data that are measured on two different scales. This allows data visualization experts to adjust these graphs in order to emphasize certain aspects of the data.

Disadvantages of Scatterplots and Bubble Graphs

Here are some of the limitations of these types of graphs:

  • Scatterplots and bubble graphs are limited in the amount of information that they can convey. While these graphs are great for understanding relationships between numerical data points, they are not very effective for understanding the causes and effects behind these relationships.
  • Scatterplots and bubble graphs are limited to comparing two numerical variables. While these graphs are great for visualizing the relationship between two variables, they do not allow readers to compare multiple variables.
  • Scatterplots and bubble graphs can be difficult to understand when the data points are plotted on a wide-axis graph. If the points are too far apart, readers may have difficulty interpreting the data points and drawing conclusions based on the data.

How To Use Scatterplots and Bubble Graphs

There are a wide variety of uses for scatterplots and bubble graphs. Here are some of their use cases:

  • Scientific researchers use scatterplots such as in the fields of psychology, sociology, economics, and statistics.
  • Bubble graphs are often found in business and marketing contexts. In these fields, businesses use scatterplots to make predictions based on past data and understand customer trends.
  • The healthcare industry uses scatterplots to track the progress of patients who are being treated for various conditions, such as cancer and diabetes.
  • Scatterplots are also commonly used in the field of sports, where they are used to analyze player performance and determine team strengths and weaknesses.
  • In the field of education, scatterplots can monitor student progress and determine areas where you can add additional training and attention.

Conclusion

Scatterplot and bubble graphs both help readers understand both the direction and strength of the relationship between these two variables. But the main difference is that bubble graphs also show magnitude corresponding to their size 

We’ve explained some of the key differences between everyone and bubble graphs. Plus, we’ve listed some of their main use cases and applications in the world today. Did we miss anything? Please let us know with a comment below.

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