No explanatory text for plots, or no plots!

A person might reasonably assume that if a law firm goes through the effort of conducting a data survey, it would want not only to produce a report with graphs, but also to interpret those graphs and make clear what insights they disclose. A pictures may be worth a thousand words, but words certainly enhance pictures. Surprisingly, therefore, several research reports dispense entirely with explanatory text and present only the naked plots.

After the introduction page, Squire Sanders Yorkshire 2013 associates no text with any of its 16 plots, although the plots show the question asked. Here are two examples [pg. 3].

Mayer Brown Privacy 2015 likewise provides no explanatory text for its plots. Six pages with 12 plots, and nothing but the question that spawned the data in the plot! Here is an example from the report [pg. 5]. As with the two images above, we reserve comment on the quality of the plot.

Berger Singerman SFlaRE 2016 has no text explanation or discussion for any of its plots, but it does replicate the data in a table to the right of the plot [pg. 6]. Some people find reading tables easier than reading graphs.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Freshfields Bruckhaus MACyber 2014 has no plots, not even tables. Readers of the report have to, well, read, to learn the data findings. Here is an example from the report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *