Basketball Statistics Referred Concepts: Statistics Lies, Uses and Misuses of Statistical Graphs


Basketball Statistics Referred Concepts: Statistics Lies, Uses and Misuses of Statistical Graphs

Basketball Statistics Referred Concepts:
Reflections about Statistics Lies, Uses and Misuses of Statistical Graphics

Basketball Statistics Analysis Referred Concepts
At the last weekly meeting of the concluded eBA Basketball Statistics Tracking Annual Clinic we were discussing the topic of the statistics lies which was initiated by the exposition "Statistics & Statisticians" at eBA ONLINE.

Here is the opinion of Paul H. Kvam and Joel Sokol from their work "Teaching Statistics with Sports Examples":

Statistical lies are most frequently committed in graphical form, where the eyes can be more easily deceived by spurious trends suggested in a picture. A common abuse is manipulating scales on charts and graphs by truncating, censoring or transforming the axis values.

The next figure shows two different charts showing an increase in average attendance at NCAA Women's Soccer games between 1998 and 2003. The first (blue)chart  is the default Microsoft Excel chart; many statistical software packages, in fact, will restrict both axes to a small set of values that contains the data, which helps the reader focus on chart differences more clearly. However, it also removes the scale of difference from the picture, which has potential to mislead readers who pay little attention to the axis labels.

Average Attendance at NCAA

Average Attendance at NCAA

Two different charts showing average attendance
at NCAA Women's Soccer (season) matches

The reader's sense of proportion can be manipulated further with image-based charts, which are standard in sports publications. As an example, the figure below graphs the season wins for the New England Patriots using clip-art in place of vertical bars.

Season Wins for the New England Patriots

Regular season wins for the New England Patriots, 2002-2003

While the height of the football icons corresponds to the information the graph is meant to communicate, the size of the footballs does not; the Patriots improved 56% in wins between 2002 and 2003, but the increase in area of the football icons is over 140%.

By Profesor

This post was extracted from an exposition by Prof. Roberto Azar in the
Statistics Tracking Clinics in eBA ONLINE

Read More at eBA Encyclopedia, search "statistics lies" in this blog and consult the eBA Basketball Statistics Analysis System.

This topic is resumed in the eBA Basketball Statistics Analysis System and at the eBA Encyclopedia.

'Basketball Registering Stats Referred Concepts'
is a Series of Notes edited Regularly Every Month !

To Read ALL the Articles in this Series, click here: Categories > Analysis Concepts

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