Here are some examples of misleading graphs. Can you see what is wrong with each of them? Make a list of their faults and then check your answers.

Example 1

From this graph it looks as though house prices have trebled in one year! It is misleading because the vertical axis does not start at 0. Look at the 'improved' version of the same graph. This gives a much more accurate picture of what has happened.

Example 2

Although the vertical scale starts at 0, it does not go up in even steps. This has the effect of distorting the graph, and making it look as though the biggest jump is between 1 and 2 rather than 3 and 4. Also, there are no labels on the axes. We have no idea what this graph represents!

Example 3

This 3D bar chart might look very attractive, but it is also very misleading. There is no scale on the vertical axis, and because of the perspective it looks as though the sales for 1995 were far greater than those for any other year. In fact they were identical to those for 1997. It would be much better to draw a 2D bar chart.

Example 3

On this Pictogram there isn't a category for those people who do not own a pet. The pictures are different sizes and it appears that more people own a horse than any other animal. An improvement would be to redraw the pictogram with each of the animals the same size and aligned with one another.