Åk 6–9

5.1 Reading and Interpreting a Diagram
Diagrams are often used to clarify information and facts.  Howerver, they can also be used to confuse and give a false impression of reality in order to gain an advantage or goal.

Two stores are competing with each other for customers.  Both stores lower their price of milk and show this in advertisement.

Meja’s Convenient Store

Åke’s Low Price Emporium

Here is another example:

Wolf territory has increased in Sweden during the last decennium.  There are those who do not want to have many wolves in Sweden and those that would like to see the wolf population grow.  Here below you see how the wolf population has increased during the years 1987–2000.

Foto: Max Krabbenhöft

Imagine that you don’t want there to be as many wolves and think that the increase of the wolf population is way too quick in Sweden.  Which of the following diagrams would you then want to show, A or  B, for those who make decisions?

This is an example of how you can distort reality by using diagrams without actually lying!  In one of the diagrams, the increase is reinforced while in the other it is the opposite.

Diagram A

Diagram B