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.

See also: graph theory, pictograph, bar graph, point-to-point graph, sparkline, time series chart

This was last updated in December 2012

Continue Reading About scatter plot

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • 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 ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • computer exploit

    A computer exploit, or exploit, is an attack on a computer system, especially one that takes advantage of a particular ...

  • cyberwarfare

    Cyberwarfare is computer- or network-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks by a nation-state on another ...

  • insider threat

    Insider threat is a generic term for a threat to an organization's security or data that comes from within.

SearchHealthIT

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

  • SATA Express (SATAe)

    SATA Express (SATAe or Serial ATA Express) is a bus interface to connect storage devices to a computer motherboard, supporting ...

  • DIMM (dual in-line memory module)

    A DIMM (dual in-line memory module) is the standard memory card used in servers and PCs.

  • nearline storage

    Nearline storage is the on-site storage of data on removable media.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close