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Unit I Reading – Graphical Methods
One of the most effective tools for the visual evaluation of data is a graph.
The investigator is
usually interested in a quantitative graph that shows the relationship between two variables in
the form of a curve.
For the relationship y = f(x),
x
is the
independent variable
and
y
is the
dependent variable
.
The
rectangular coordinate system is convenient for graphing data, with the values of the dependent
variable y being plotted along the
vertical axis
and the values of the independent variable x
plotted along the
horizontal axis
.
Positive values of the dependent variable are traditionally plotted above the origin and positive
values of the independent variables to the right of the origin.
This convention is not always
adhered to in physics, and thus the positive direction along the axes will be
indicated by the
direction the arrow heads point.
The choice of dependent and independent variables is determined by the experimental approach
or the character of the data.
Generally, the
independent variable
is the one over which the
experimenter has complete control
; the
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This note was uploaded on 12/22/2011 for the course PHYSICS 204 taught by Professor Dr.lairdkramer during the Fall '11 term at FIU.
 Fall '11
 Dr.LairdKramer

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