Choosing the right chart to represent your data can be a daunting process. I believe that a *starting point* for this thinking is some basic statistical thinking about the *type* of variables that you have. At the broadest level, variables may be conceptualized as *categorical* variables, or *continuous* variables.

*categorical variables*represent unordered categories like*gender*, or*religious affiliation*.*continuous variables*represent a continuous scale like a*mental health scale*, or a*measure of neighborhood quality*.

Once we have discerned the type of variable that have, there are two followup questions we may ask before deciding upon a chart strategy:

- Is our graph about
**one thing at a time**?- How much of
*x*is there? - What is the distribution of
*x*?

- How much of
- Is our graph about
**two things at a time**?- What is the relationship of
*x*and*y*? - How are
*x*and*y*associated?

- What is the relationship of

Graphs should have clear titles and labels.