Find domain and range from graphs

Another way to identify the domain and range of functions is by using graphs. Because the domain refers to the set of possible input values, the domain of a graph consists of all the input values shown on the x-axis. The range is the set of possible output values, which are shown on the y-axis. Keep in mind that if the graph continues beyond the portion of the graph we can see, the domain and range may be greater than the visible values. See Figure 6.

Graph of a polynomial that shows the x-axis is the domain and the y-axis is the rangeFigure 6


We can observe that the graph extends horizontally from

5-5
to the right without bound, so the domain is
[5,)\left[-5,\infty \right)
. The vertical extent of the graph is all range values
55
and below, so the range is
(,5]\left(\mathrm{-\infty },5\right]
. Note that the domain and range are always written from smaller to larger values, or from left to right for domain, and from the bottom of the graph to the top of the graph for range.

Example 6: Finding Domain and Range from a Graph

Find the domain and range of the function
ff
 whose graph is shown in Figure 7.

Graph of a function from (-3, 1].Figure 7


Solution

We can observe that the horizontal extent of the graph is –3 to 1, so the domain of

ff
 is
(3,1]\left(-3,1\right]
.

Graph of the previous function shows the domain and range.Figure 8


The vertical extent of the graph is 0 to –4, so the range is

[4,0)\left[-4,0\right)
.



Example 7: Finding Domain and Range from a Graph of Oil Production

Find the domain and range of the function
ff
whose graph is shown in Figure 9.

Graph of the Alaska Crude Oil Production where the y-axis is thousand barrels per day and the -axis is the years.Figure 9. (credit: modification of work by the U.S. Energy Information Administration)


Solution

The input quantity along the horizontal axis is "years," which we represent with the variable

tt
for time. The output quantity is "thousands of barrels of oil per day," which we represent with the variable
bb
for barrels. The graph may continue to the left and right beyond what is viewed, but based on the portion of the graph that is visible, we can determine the domain as
1973t20081973\le t\le 2008
and the range as approximately
180b2010180\le b\le 2010
.

In interval notation, the domain is [1973, 2008], and the range is about [180, 2010]. For the domain and the range, we approximate the smallest and largest values since they do not fall exactly on the grid lines.

Try It 6

Given the graph in Figure 10, identify the domain and range using interval notation.

Graph of World Population Increase where the y-axis represents millions of people and the x-axis represents the year.Figure 10


Solution

Q & A

Can a function’s domain and range be the same?

Yes. For example, the domain and range of the cube root function are both the set of all real numbers.

Licenses and Attributions

More Study Resources for You

Show More