Statistical figures are frequently used in statistics to present data in an illustrative format, which clearly communicates the results in an interpretable manner, in which patterns can be emphasized. Often, figures can focus on particular aspects of a data set which are important, but hard to notice when only analyzing the raw data in basic numerical form. Therefore, understanding how to construct different graphical figures is imperative to being successful in expressing statistical data effectively.
There is a multitude of different statistical figures which are taught in statistics because depending on the nature of the data or hypothesis being tested, different figures are more appropriate than others. Figures range from being fairly basic such as bar charts and scatter plots, to more complex such as box plots and pareto charts, which require several calculations to be computed so that the graph can be completed. Other graphics, such as histograms or control charts, are most often used in particular cases. A histogram is utilized to represent a frequency distribution and control charts are commonly utilized when graphing manufacturing processes.
Furthermore, when presenting statistical data and results to the general public, for example in a journal publication, the use of statistical graphics is particularly powerful. It is more likely that statistical figures will be able to get the take home message across, in comparison to the original raw data tables. The application of statistical figures extends well beyond the classroom and evidently, is integral to communication in the discipline of statistics.