Thursday, November 20, 2008

Random demographic graphics

I've just installed Office 2008 on my Mac in the hopes that it would make it easier for me to read files that people send me from PCs at work. So far, I've discovered that the Mac and PC interfaces are not at all the same, which explains why my students have been so frustrated when they've tried to do assignments on their home computers.

I'm going to get familiar with Excel by graphing the demographic data from the closed survey on my sidebar. Warning: includes default color schemes and gratuitous 3D pie charts.

Two-thirds of my readers are younger than me. That doesn't surprise me, but it means that I can't make Usenet jokes and expect people to get them. It also may explain this:

Well, not exactly. It looks like the quadrant compass is going the way of Usenet and geosynclinal theory. We're gradually replacing our quadrant compasses as they break... but I'm still going to make all my students convert all their measurements back and forth, because I'm a Big Meanie.

(Also, doesn't that graph look like it ought to have "One ring to rule them all..." inscribed on it?)

The next two graphs should have an axis labeled "number of responses" - I thought the total number of each of these was more interesting than the percent.

I'm not sure if "employment" is the right title for this graph. (I'm also not sure how many of the grad students also described themselves as employed in academia.)

Edit - By the way, "pre-college" is short for "pre-college educator" here. I was curious how many people were K-12 (or earlier) teachers, especially because Earth Science isn't taught in high school in many states (including Texas and California).

And finally, I have no idea why this bar graph insists on putting "other background" on top of "geoscientist." Perhaps it knows that geoscientists are down to earth, or something lame like that.

I know that this pair of questions left out some possibilities. (People who became geoscientists after a background in something else; people who majored in geology but got a job doing something different.)

And now I can delete those surveys from the side of this blog.


Eric said...

You had pre-college and grad student, but no undergrad student? :(

Kim said...

"Pre-college" is short for "pre-college educator." (Poor choice of heading; something to remember when making graphs for talks!)

When I made up the questions, I thought that undergrads and younger would show up in the age information. (That was silly, because traditional college students fall into both the 20-29 and under 20 age groups.) But I was thinking about the jobs that people do, and... well, I figured that college students are still in the process of deciding.

Silver Fox said...

Yes, that golden ring-type graph is interesting, and an appropriate shape for compass data, methinks.

("...and in the darkness bind them.")

Kim said...

I have no idea what that doughnut-shaped graph would normally be used for. (I was sad to see that the "X-Y scatter plot" option was way off to the right.)

Joe Kopera said...

Hey Kim--

It's probably too late now that you've bought Microsoft Office, but have you ever tried Open Office? It's free, and I've been using it for the past few years-- it can open pretty much any document from any different software, and save to Microsoft Office. It doesn't import or save Excel macros or VBA scripts, but otherwise works wonderfully. And it's free.

-Joe K.