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Discuss the most common errors that occur when using tables, graphs, and histograms to present data. Identify two measures one can take to prevent such errors from occurring.
Few (2004) discusses that the purpose of data presentation is to communicate a clear message to the target audience. As such, data presentation that does not successfully communicate a message is problematic. Few (2004) discusses that a common mistake made by those using data presentation is not truly understanding what message to communicate to the viewer. As such, this author suggests taking the time to think about what the most important message is, and to synthesize a sentence to communicate necessary information. By using this method, Few (2004) argues that keywords can be extracted from the sentence and can help one to know what data to present.
Another common error that accompanies data presentation is when one forces data to be viewed in a graph or table when this avenue is not best to communicate findings. Few (2004) argues that a simple sentence reviewing findings is acceptable if the message can be communicated clearly and effectively in this manner. However, if tables or graphs are to be used for data presentation, it is important to use the best tool for the selected data (Few, 2004).
Identify two measures one can take to prevent such errors from occurring.
Few (2004) recommends using tables when one must view or compare values that are individual or precise, or if presented values utilize multiple units of measurement. In contrast, graphs are best suited for communicating a message when the shape of the data will demonstrate findings or when relationships amongst many data points need to be displayed (Few, 2004). Few (2004) argues that it is important to select the appropriate graph to display findings. This author advocates for the use of bar graphs if one wants to display differences between values at one point in time versus how values change over time, in which a line graph is more appropriate (Few, 2004).
In addition to choosing the best type of table or graph to use, it is also important to avoid the mistake of creating a data presentation that is too busy and cluttered (Few, 2004). Creating busy or cluttered graphs or tables can be both distracting and confusing to viewers (Few, 2004). As such, it is recommended to use a simple design, allowing the viewer to understand and appreciate data such as the slope of a line within a graph (Few, 2004).
Suggest two different formats the DNP clinicians in the case study may use to present the outcomes of the project. Clearly discuss the suggested format and corresponding data point(s).
One format that the clinicians can use to display results in the case study, is a bar graph that compares the mean scale score for each question pre versus post project implementation. According to Evaluation Research Team (2008), a bar graph is helpful to display a comparison of values amongst categories. On the bar graph for this case study, “item number” from the Self-Efficacy for Managing Chronic Disease 6-item Scale (Stanford Patient Education Research Center, 2007) can be displayed on the x-axis (i.e., items 1 through 6 on the scale) and the mean score for each question can be displayed on the y-axis. As previously discussed, Few (2004) argues that graphs are best suited for communicating results when the shape of the data will exhibit findings or when relationships amongst values need to be displayed. By displaying pre versus post scores, the viewer can clearly see that the individualized educational sessions helped to increase self-efficacy related to the management of chronic hypertension (HTN).
According to Evaluation Research Team (2008), circles or pie charts can be used to “compare parts of the whole” (p.1). The clinicians involved in the case study can use a circle or pie graph to display what proportion of the group identified with a specific ethnic background and what percentage of participants fell into different age ranges. Pie charts can also be used to demonstrate the percentage of participants from a specific ethnic group that reported use of the Internet to retrieve health information. By using these charts, the viewer will better understand the characteristics of the participants.
Identify one format you would use to present each outcome of your EBP project. (You only need one if you have one outcome, two if you have two outcomes, etc.) (Hint: you will use this information in your NUR 704 data evaluation plan or your related MSN courses).
For my project, participants will complete an educational session that will review the importance of screening medication non-adherence in patients with schizophrenia, and project interventions (administering the MARS). Clinicians will be trained on how to administer the MARS. Clinicians will be provided with different educational materials to serve as constant reminders and ensure that they administer the MARS to every schizophrenia patient during their visit to encourage continued adherence and reduce the risks associated with relapse. A bar graph that compares the mean test scores of participants pre versus post-project implementation would allow viewers to easily identify if knowledge improved after the educational session has been completed by participants.
Evaluation Research Team. (2008). Using graphs and charts to illustrate quantitative
data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/evaluation/pdf/brief12.pdf
Few, S. (2004). Common mistakes in data presentation. Perceptual Edge.
Stanford Patient Education Research Center (2007). Chronic disease self-management program
questionnaire code book. Stanford University. https://www.selfmanagementresource.com/docs/pdfs/Questionnaire_CodeBook.pdf