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Interrogating the histogram

Kissane, B. (2003) Interrogating the histogram. In: Clarke, B., Bishop, A., Cameron, R., Forgasz, H. and Seah, W.T., (eds.) Making Mathematicians. Mathematical Association of Victoria, Brunswick, VIC., pp. 456-468.


Histograms are commonly used to display univariate data in order to give a visual impression of the shape of a distribution. In this paper the author identifies some of the inherently problematic features associated with doing this, noting how various forms of technology can help to understand the histogram better. Graphics calculators are a popular tool for elementary data analysis in schools, so the paper illustrates how calculators can be used to construct and learn about histograms from raw data. Both actual data and simulated data can and should be used to cast some doubt on the practice of using histograms, or at least to identify the need to exercise caution in their interpretation.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Mathematical Association of Victoria
Copyright: 2003 MAV
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