Bin Width and Histogram Shape

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This histogram presents data regarding the time between eruptions of Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Adjusting the slider illustrates that the shape of a histogram can be quite sensitive to changes in the bin width. As demonstrated with this dataset, large bin widths may hide patterns in the data, while small bin widths may yield graphs that are difficult to interpret.

Contributed by: Jim Brandt (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



Data appears in S. Chatterjee, M. S. Handcock, and J. S. Simonoff, Casebook for a First Course in Statistics and Data Analysis, New York: Wiley, 1995.

Data involving the duration of eruptions at Old Faithful may be explored online using the Histogram Applet written by R. Webster West and R. Todd Ogden.

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