Old Faithful and Histogram Bin Size

Histogram are a remarkable way to "see" data. And, carefully constructed, a histogram can reveal a lot of information. Nevertheless, some care must also be taken when making a histogram. In particular, how the bin size is selected makes a big difference.

An Example: Old Faithful Eruption Times

Look at the histogram below. It shows the lengh of eruptions (in minutes) of Old Faithful. Notice that you can adjust the bin width by dragging on the marker of the bin width scale. Play around with it and see which bin width gives you the best "view" of the data.

References: For more information on Old Faithful eruptions and possible explanations for what you see in this hitogram, see the following links:

The applet used on this page was made by

R. Webster West
Department of Statistics
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
Office Phone: (803) 777-3792
Fax: (803) 797-1822
E-mail: west@stat.sc.edu

See http://www.stat.sc.edu/~west/javahtml/Histogram.html for more information, including how to put this applet on your own pages with your own data.

This page maintained by:
Randall Pruim
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Calvin College

Last Modified: Thursday, 11-Jan-2001 16:02:18 EST