Data Interpretation Basics

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 24, 2022, 10:34

Data Interpretation refers to the procedures implemented to derive inference from given data. Data can be available in several formats, including line graphs, tables, bars, and pie charts. Interpreting data from these varied sources requires analyzing and visualizing skills to reach a meaningful conclusion.

This article will walk you through the Data Interpretation Basics, so you can easily solve Data Interpretation questions in any competitive examination.

Types of Data Interpretations

  • Bar Graph

A bar graph represents data in the form of bars. The value of data in bar graphs is represented by the length or height of the bars. A longer bar represents a greater value. The bars can be horizontal or vertical. This is one of the basic types of graph used in Data Interpretation.

Bar graphs can be divided into the following broad categories:

  • Simple Bar Graph

In a simple bar graph, the bar plotted against a variable shows only one discreet value. The length of the bar commensurates the value they represent. This type of bar graph is simple to read and understand.

  • Grouped Bar Graph

A grouped bar chart shows more than one value. The values are the different sub-categories of the data set. A grouped bar chart is drawn to give more information about the variable. It is also known as a cluster bar graph.

  • Stacked Bar Graph

In a stacked bar graph, the different sub-categories of the data sets are stacked on top of one another, unlike grouped bar graphs where bars are placed side by side. Thus, the whole bar is divided into different parts represented using different colours or symbols. Stacked bar graphs are also known as composite bar graphs.

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  • Tables

A table is one of the most common ways of summarizing and presenting data. Data in tables are arranged systematically in rows and columns. The topmost row and column of the table represent the heading that describes the table's content. The unit of measurement is generally given as a headnote in the table. One must also be careful of the footnote, which highlights any exception in arriving at the data.

  • Pie Chart

The pie chart is a circular graph divided into various segments. Each segment (pie) represents a portion of the total pie and is proportional to its corresponding numerical value. The total of all the data in a pie chart equals 100% or is equivalent to an angle of 360 degrees. The bigger the pie, the greater the value. The basics of Data Interpretation list two significant types of pie charts:

  • Simple Pie Chart

It is the most basic type of pie chart and is simply called a pie chart. It displays data in a circular graph where each portion contributes to the total.

  • Doughnut Pie Chart

It is a variant of the pie chart with a hole in the centre looking like a doughnut. The blank space in the centre facilitates the display of multiple data at once.

  • Line Graph

A line graph displays several points connected by a straight line. It helps determine the relationship between two changing variables over a period of time, where one variable depends on the other.

Tips to Solve Data Interpretation Basic Questions

  • Read the question carefully without skipping anything in between.
  • Go through the data and try to analyze, keeping the question in mind.
  • Pay attention to the unit of measurement. Different units may be used in the same question.
  • You can use approximate values to make simplification easier.
  • Be thorough with your formulas.
  • Practice makes perfect- so practice as many questions as possible.
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FAQs on Data Interpretation Basics

Q.1. What is basic Data Interpretation?

Data Interpretation refers to the procedures implemented to derive inference from the given data.

Q.2. How many categories of bar graphs are asked in Data Interpretation?

The basics of Data Interpretation usually list three broad categories of bar charts: simple, grouped, and stacked bar graphs.

Q.3. What is a doughnut pie chart in Data Interpretation?

A doughnut pie chart is a variant of the pie chart with a hole in the centre that facilitates the display of multiple data at once.

Q.4. According to Data Interpretation Basics, what are line graphs used for?

Line graphs are used to determine the relationship between two changing variables over a period of time.