FAQ: Data Types and Quality - Representative Samples

This community-built FAQ covers the “Representative Samples” exercise from the lesson “Data Types and Quality”.

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FAQs on the exercise Representative Samples

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So, on the exercise about the trees and leaves, this not good for those of us who are color blind. Not asking for any special treatment, but it is commonly stated to avoid greens and reds in visualization. For this exercise, I can see 3 colors but I assume there must be more since I see 6 trees. I’m just going to move on.

I was thrown off by the visualization in this example but I learned a good lesson I think. The answer makes the distinction in Sample A that “light green leaved trees” are different than regular green, or at least it implies there is that difference, with light green and green being different qualities. I got confused because although this detail isn’t a _____ (what’s the word for the actual instance in the data, where the row meets the observation?), the illustration of trees that have a round top vs. the kind that has a top that looks like three round sections (like the one on the very left) I thought was a different instance possibility because it is a visualization. That’s how I took it at first.

I think I didn’t view the data enough. But upon more reflection, I determined that despite any visual indicators in the actual visualization, if they’re not official instance possibilities in the data, they shouldn’t be considered in your analysis. Basically, in the visualization, a tree with a brown trunk with a round top that’s light green is the same as a tree with a brown trunk with a triangular top that is light green.

For example again, apparently there are no instances of “round tops” and “3 round sectioned tops” for the type of tree. There is only leaf color and trunk color. I think it might be easy to create errors if you get carried away with a detail that is not considered part of the data, especially when it comes to the visualization. I guess it was a rookie move.


I thought that the concept of a representative sample has not been clearly defined here. Aren’t the quantitative proportions within the sample also relevant to being a representative sample?

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Proportions are the measurement of the characteristic, not the characteristic itself.