Browse Definitions:
Definition

# scatter plot

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

A scatter plot is a set of points plotted on a horizontal and vertical axes.

Scatter plots are important in statistics because they can show the extent of correlation, if any, between the values of observed quantities or phenomena (called variables). If no correlation exists between the variables, the points appear randomly scattered on the coordinate plane. If a large correlation exists, the points concentrate near a straight line. Scatter plots are useful data visualization tools for illustrating a trend.

Besides showing the extent of correlation, a scatter plot shows the sense of the correlation:

• If the vertical (or y-axis) variable increases as the horizontal (or x-axis) variable increases, the correlation is positive.
• If the y-axis variable decreases as the x-axis variable increases or vice-versa, the correlation is negative.
• If it is impossible to establish either of the above criteria, then the correlation is zero.

The maximum possible positive correlation is +1 or +100%, when all the points in a scatter plot lie exactly along a straight line with a positive slope. The maximum possible negative correlation is -1 or -100%, in which case all the points lie exactly along a straight line with a negative slope.

Correlation is often confused with causation, either accidentally (as a result of false or unproved hypotheses) or deliberately (with intent to deceive). However, in the pure sense, while a scatter plot can reveal the nature and extent of correlation, it says nothing about causation.

This video from RodCastMath explains more about negative and positive correlation on a scatter plot.

This was last updated in December 2012

#### Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

## SearchCompliance

• ### risk map (risk heat map)

A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

• ### internal audit (IA)

An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

• ### pure risk (absolute risk)

Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

## SearchSecurity

• ### FIDO (Fast Identity Online)

FIDO (Fast ID Online) is a set of technology-agnostic security specifications for strong authentication. FIDO is developed by the...

• ### cryptanalysis

Cryptanalysis is the study of ciphertext, ciphers and cryptosystems with the aim of understanding how they work and finding and ...

• ### Trojan horse (computing)

In computing, a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless, but is, in fact, malicious.

## SearchHealthIT

• ### HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act of 2009

The HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act of 2009 is legislation that was created to ...

• ### Epic Systems

Epic Systems is one of the largest providers of health information technology, used primarily by large U.S. hospitals and health ...

• ### accountable care organization (ACO)

An accountable care organization (ACO) is an association of hospitals, healthcare providers and insurers in which all parties ...

## SearchDisasterRecovery

• ### business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

• ### business continuity plan (BCP)

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

• ### call tree

A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

## SearchStorage

• ### SSD TRIM

SSD TRIM is an Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) command that enables an operating system to inform a NAND flash solid-state ...

• ### cloud storage service

A cloud storage service is a business that maintains and manages its customers' data and makes that data accessible over a ...

• ### cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is the process of outsourcing an organization's computing and storage resources to a service provider that offers ...

## SearchSolidStateStorage

• ### hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close