Histogram Bin Sizes

Histograms 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.

The data set below is the number of hours prior to a deadline that students in one of my classes submitted a homework assignment. Use the slider bar below this histogram to see the effects of bin size on the histogram. (See some data about Old Faithful eruption times for a nice example).

You can see this effect for yourself with any data you like. Enter some data in the form below and "play" with the bin sizes. Do different bin sizes give you a different impression of the data?

Enter your data here with spaces between values:

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This page is maintained by Randall Pruim. Please email comments, corrections, suggestions and the like to rpruim@calvin.edu.

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.

Last Modified: Sunday, 04-Mar-2001 00:35:31 EST