Activity 1.2, Medical Data and Class Data: Graphs with Excel

Microsoft Excel is a powerful computer program that allows you to manipulate data and create graphs. (In Excel, a graph is also called a chart.) In this activity, you will use Excel to create bar graphs and pie charts and more importantly, you will use these charts to help understand and interpret the data. Consider the following data on payment methods by patients for emergency room visits in 2006. (Source:National Center for Health statistics)

A
B
Method
Number of Visits (in thousands)
Private Insurance
47,284
Medicaid or SCHIP
30,351
Medicare
16,779
Medicare and Medicaid
3,893
No insurance-self pay
19,041
No insurance-no charge/charity
2,232
Worker's compensation
2,097
Other
4,211
Unknown
5,651

1. What are the interesting features of the data? What do you know about payment methods for emergency rooms from the data?

2. Explain why a bar graph is appropriate for this data.

3. Use Excel to create a bar graph of these data. Make sure to copy and past the bar graph into your file. Note the directions are for slightly different data.

4. Explain what your bar graph shows that the original data table did not show.

5. Now you’ll use Excel to create a pie chart of these data. Make sure to paste the graph into your word document.

6. Is there any information in your pie chart that was not in the bar graph? Explain.

7. Now, suppose the following data on number of miles from the college to home was collected from a group of seven students. Use Excel to create a pie chart for this data set and explain what your pie chart shows. (Think about how you want your pie chart to show the data. You will need to put the data into categories first. You can use columns D and E of the same Excel worksheet.) Remember that you need to put the data in categories first. Miles does NOT make a satisfactory category. Cut and paste your pie chart into your word document. How does your pie chart help you understand the data?

Student
Miles
Ben
12
Sarah
25
Hines
32
Rashard
79
Isabella
81
Heather
2
Michael
110

8. Now instruct Excel to convert the pie chart you created to a bar graph. Cut and Paste the bar graph into your word document.

9. Which of the two charts do you think is more helpful to understand the data in #7 and why?


Summary
In this activity, you learned to enter data in an Excel file and created bar and pie charts using Excel. You also learned how to save an Excel file and to work with more than one worksheet within an Excel workbook. You learned that sometimes it is necessary to group the data to create an appropriate pie chart.