Like Graphics for Text - Understanding and Implementing the Grammar of Graphics in R

Science & Technology
Mittwoch, 7. Mai 2014 -
10:00 bis 10:30
stage A



Data Visualisations, ranging from simple bar charts to convoluted InfoViz, are now par for the course in popular scientific communication. However, best practices often default to the simplest option available in restrictive software packages. This session will introduce the audience to the Grammar of Graphics plotting concept in R, allowing creative processes to merge with efficient, reproducible, and transparent code.


This session aims to help improve the data visualisation process for quantitative plots. In the spirit of Open Science, we will focus on data visualisations using the Grammar of Graphics plotting concept in R, a popular open-source programming environment for statistics, data analysis and visualisation. Using numerous examples, we will begin by exploring the concept of "Tidy Data", which formats data in a flexible form. Having achieved this, the Grammar of Graphics plotting concept will be introduced. In this technique, we begin to understand quantitative plots like written sentences. By rearranging grammatical elements in text (punctuation, clause order), and using specific words (adjectives, adverbs), we can subtly control the message we want to communicate. The same holds true for data visualisations. Here, we rearrange layers and use specific geoms to achieve the message we want to communicate with our data visualisations. R and ggplot2 act as our language and word processor of choice - a veritable Esperanto for data visualisations.
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