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How to plot a good graph

How to plot a good graph for Physics SPA

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Characteristics 
 
Remember the acronym SLAP 
Scale 
Line 
Axis 
Points
Scale 
 
 First and last points to cover more than half the 
graph paper in both directions unless prevented 
by certain conditions specified in the question 
Avoid awkward scales e.g. 2 cm is used to 
represent 3 units making it impossible to read each 
small square accurately. 
 Recommended scale – 2 cm to represent 1, 2, 5 units of 
the variable (or 0.1, 20, 500 etc). 
 show the area covered by 1st and last points and 
indicate at least 6 squares vertically and at least 5 
squares horizontally
Scale 

Line 
 
Use sharp pencil to draw thin, neat and 
smooth line or curve. 
Best fit straight line or curve means 
Passing through as many points as possible. 
Equal points are on either side of line, for 
points that do not pass through the line. 
 No point is too far from line or curve. 
(Except anomalous points)
Line 
 
Extend line beyond first and last 
points and the line should be as 
long as possible. 
Use a 30-cm long ruler for 
practical to draw straight line.

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How to plot a good graph

  • 2. Characteristics  Remember the acronym SLAP Scale Line Axis Points
  • 3. Scale   First and last points to cover more than half the graph paper in both directions unless prevented by certain conditions specified in the question Avoid awkward scales e.g. 2 cm is used to represent 3 units making it impossible to read each small square accurately.  Recommended scale – 2 cm to represent 1, 2, 5 units of the variable (or 0.1, 20, 500 etc).  show the area covered by 1st and last points and indicate at least 6 squares vertically and at least 5 squares horizontally
  • 5. Line  Use sharp pencil to draw thin, neat and smooth line or curve. Best fit straight line or curve means Passing through as many points as possible. Equal points are on either side of line, for points that do not pass through the line.  No point is too far from line or curve. (Except anomalous points)
  • 6. Line  Extend line beyond first and last points and the line should be as long as possible. Use a 30-cm long ruler for practical to draw straight line.
  • 7. Axis  Axes are correctly labelled with correct physical quantities and units (in solidus notation). Use more markings to prevent wrong reading of scale. Plot a graph of Variable 1 (Vertical Axis) against Variable 2 (Horizontal Axis)
  • 8. Points  Mark the data points clearly with neat thin small crosses. Points must be plotted according to the values in the table. Read the scales carefully.
  • 11. Gradient  The triangle used should cover at least half of the line drawn. The triangle should be drawn in dotted line and do not mark the points used with crosses. Indicate the coordinates to be used. The coordinates must be on the line.
  • 12. Gradient  Do not use plotted/ data points to calculate gradient. Use other coordinates. Show complete working as to how gradient is obtained. Values read from graph should be according to the number of decimal places of the scales used.
  • 13. Example  (no units for gradient, but units required for R)
  • 14. Example  Gradient = 1.60 Using y = mx + c, and the coordinates (0.35, 0.75), 0.75 = (1.60)(0.35) + c c = 0.19