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Presenting Visual Information, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 595

Essay

As a harried marketing manager, I would prefer to see the results in charts and graphs instead of tables. As I studied the data for Tony’s regional sales in table format (Kerin, Hartley, & Rudelius, October 1, 2010), I realized it required quite an effort and time to understand the significance of the information. In addition, it was also challenging to compare different tables to identify a potential trend. When I would study the second table, I would often forget the implications of the information in the first table and would have to go back to refresh my memory. On the other hand, I did realize that tables are preferable to charts and graphs when exact data values are the priority. They may also be preferable when data values are quite close to each other because the small differences may not be easily recognizable on charts and graphs.

One of the major strengths of tables is that it is easier to modify the data (WiseGeek). This will be preferable in situations where the manager may be considering different scenarios for analytical purposes. Another benefit of tables is that it accommodates both quantitative and qualitative data. While other forms of visual presentation also accommodate quantitative data, not all are suited to qualitative data. One of the shortcomings of presenting data in table form is that when there is large quantity of data involved, it becomes difficult if not impossible to manage data in a table form (North Carolina State University). Another shortcoming of table format is that it is not always easy to recognize the trend, especially when the data stretches over long periods of time.

As far as charts are concerned, there are different chart types. For example, pie chart is useful when comparing the proportional sizes of different components such as the contribution of different products to the company’s total revenue. Bar and column charts are well suited to categorical data. Charts are usually preferred by managers because they make it possible to quickly get the big picture. One of the shortcomings of charts is that it is possible to draw wrong inferences when there are too many slices in a chart such as a pie chart (Brooks). Like pie charts, some other types of charts such as bubble charts also make it difficult to make inferences regarding the size of individual variables (Brooks).

Graphs such as bar graphs make it possible to compare categories among different groups (Crossman) which is not possible with pie chart. Line graphs are suited to continuous variables that often stretch over long periods of time. One of the shortcomings of graphs is that it can be distorted to present information in a misleading manner such as playing with widths and heights of bars (Crossman).

It is clear that whether tables, graphs, or charts are better also depends upon the type of data, the size of data, and the information needs of the manager. Similarly, different managers may have different personal preferences. For example, graphs and charts may appeal more to those who prefer visual data while table may appeal more to those who may want to modify numbers.

References

Brooks, T. J. (n.d.). Representing Data Graphically. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://www.uwlax.edu/faculty/brooks/bus230/handouts/designing%20graphs.pdf

Crossman, A. (n.d.). Presenting Data in Graphic Form. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://sociology.about.com/od/Statistics/a/Presenting-Data-In-Graphic-Form.htm

Kerin, R., Hartley, S., & Rudelius, W. (October 1, 2010). Marketing Research: From Customer Insights to Actions. In Marketing: The Core (pp. 184-185). McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

North Carolina State University. (n.d.). Tables vs. Graphs. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://www.ncsu.edu/labwrite/res/tablevsgraph/res-tablevsgraph.html

WiseGeek. (n.d.). What Is a Data Table? Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-data-table.htm

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