A scatter plot is a graph used to visually examine the relationship between two quantitative variables that are plotted on the x- and y- axis, respectively. Points are plotted in relation to both variables, and from this a correlation can be determined. A “line of best fit” can be used further in analysis of the relationship between variables.
A few types of correlation to look for include:
- Positive correlation- upward, rising trend of data (positive slope)
- Negative correlation- downward, decreasing trend of data (negative slope)
- No correlation- scattered data with no obvious relationship
Further analysis on scatter plots and correlation can be found here. However, correlation is not to be confused with causality. Supposing that a relationship exists, it cannot be proven one variable causes a change in the other variable. More on the avoidable pitfalls of scatter plots can be found at Sky Mark and at the Regents Exam Prep Website.