Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.
Without data points, many of the world's financial institutions would not exist and many of our favorite businesses wouldn't be around. Learn why data points are so crucial and valuable to you and to businesses.
What Is a Data Point?
When people take surveys for statistical purposes or when the Census Bureau comes around and gets everybody's information, information from one person is one data point for them. At the end of its research or survey, the company will have gathered many bits of information from many people. One bit of information equals one data point.
If you've ever plotted points on a coordinate graph, you might remember that each one of those dots is a data point. Data points are not as apparent as the results they provide. Businesses, like your favorite clothing store, gather data points by the way people shop and when people fill out their store surveys. Each survey and each person becomes one data point for them. The collection of data points is used by the business to decide what other clothes to offer its customers.
In school, you will see data points when you are asked to graph a collection of points or a collection of data. When you perform a scientific lab, you sometimes take down test data or times of events. You are then asked to graph these points. Each test point then becomes one data point for you.
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You use data points when you are about to graph a collection of them to see if there is a pattern. When your data points involve time, each data point is important to get the right timing sequence. For businesses, each data point is important. If you are a customer, you become a data point to them. The information the business collects from you is useful to the business in learning about you and what you like. Your information (your data point) is used by the business to cater more to your needs so you will continue to be a customer.
Writing Data Points
Data points can be written in various formats. The most common format is the point format for graphing. Usually, you have two coordinates, an x and a y. Your data point will look like (1, 2) or any form of (x, y). Sometimes, you have three coordinates to work with. When this happens, your data point will look like (3, 1, blue) or any form of (x, y, z).
Data points do not always have to be in number form. They can include specific words that are part of the collection of data. For example, a survey may want to know what color girls and boys prefer. This particular survey's data points then would include color instead of a number. Alternately, the survey company could decide to substitute numbers for various colors, but the company could also keep the data with the names of the color.
One data point is one bit of information. A collection of data points is a collection of information that can be graphed. When graphed, a pattern may be observed. There are different ways of writing data points: They can be written numerically inside parentheses with commas separating each value.
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