7th May: data commentary

data_commentary

Writing Data Commentary

1) Summary: Tell what it shows.

Referring to a Table/Figure

  • Consistently use present tense (even if the data refers to the past – the table shows that in the 1960s people were more prone to…)
  • May use active or passive forms – details are provided…the table provides details
  • Show, provide, give, present, summarize, illustrate, reveal, display, demonstrate, indicate, suggest

This line graph/bar graph/pie-chart/table shows . . .
The x-axis/y-axis represents . . .
The shaded/dark/light area indicates . . .

2) Highlighting statements: Point out generalizations from the details of the data.
As shown in the . . ./As revealed by the . . ./As can be seen in the . . .
It is interesting to see that . . ./Notice that . . .

Don’t

  • Repeat all the details in words
  • Attempt to cover all the information
  • Claim more than is reasonable or defensible

3) Concluding a commentary: Explain the data and/or discuss implications
This was probably because . . ./The could have been the result of . . .
This trend indicates that if . . ./This has several implications for the future.
Qualifying comparisons: Which is the most effective comparison?
a.
Sixty-nine percent of girls reported restrictions on going out late at night as
opposed to
thirty-five percent of boys.
b.
More girls reported restrictions on going out late at night than did boys.
c.
Thirty-four percent more girls reported restrictions on going out late at night
than did boys.
d.
Almost exactly twice as many girls reported restrictions on going out late at
night as did boys.
Other useful alternatives
A marginally smaller percentage of X reported . . .
Slightly over twice as many X reported . . .
Close to three times as many X reported . . .
X exceeded Y in the times they reported . . . by a ratio of 3.5 to 1.
The percentage of X who reported . . . is roughly twice that of Y.
Useful vocabulary in talking about graphs

Verb Adjective Noun
increase upward/downward trend
decrease/decline gradual/dramatic increase/decrease
level off 稳定,平稳 high/low point
fluctuate steep fall
sharp adj. rise n.
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