vignettes/web_only/gghistostats.Rmd
gghistostats.Rmd
You can cite this package/vignette as:
Patil, I. (2021). Visualizations with statistical details: The
'ggstatsplot' approach. Journal of Open Source Software, 6(61), 3167,
doi:10.21105/joss.03167
A BibTeX entry for LaTeX users is
@Article{,
doi = {10.21105/joss.03167},
url = {https://doi.org/10.21105/joss.03167},
year = {2021},
publisher = {{The Open Journal}},
volume = {6},
number = {61},
pages = {3167},
author = {Indrajeet Patil},
title = {{Visualizations with statistical details: The {'ggstatsplot'} approach}},
journal = {{Journal of Open Source Software}},
}
The function ggstatsplot::gghistostats
can be used for data exploration and to provide an easy way to make publicationready histograms with appropriate and selected statistical details embedded in the plot itself. In this vignette we will explore several examples of how to use it.
Some instances where you would want to use gghistostats

gghistostats
Let’s begin with a very simple example from the psych
package (psych::sat.act
), a sample of 700 selfreported scores on the SAT Verbal, SAT Quantitative and ACT tests. ACT composite scores may range from 1  36. National norms have a mean of 20.
# loading needed libraries
library(ggstatsplot)
library(psych)
library(dplyr)
# looking at the structure of the data using glimpse
dplyr::glimpse(psych::sat.act)
#> Rows: 700
#> Columns: 6
#> $ gender <int> 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, …
#> $ education <int> 3, 3, 3, 4, 2, 5, 5, 3, 4, 5, 3, 4, 4, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 4, 4, …
#> $ age <int> 19, 23, 20, 27, 33, 26, 30, 19, 23, 40, 23, 34, 32, 41, 20, …
#> $ ACT <int> 24, 35, 21, 26, 31, 28, 36, 22, 22, 35, 32, 29, 21, 35, 27, …
#> $ SATV <int> 500, 600, 480, 550, 600, 640, 610, 520, 400, 730, 760, 710, …
#> $ SATQ <int> 500, 500, 470, 520, 550, 640, 500, 560, 600, 800, 710, 600, …
To get a simple histogram with no statistics and no special information. gghistostats
will by default choose a binwidth max(x)  min(x) / sqrt(N)
. You should always check this value and explore multiple widths to find the best to illustrate the stories in your data since histograms are sensitive to binwidth.
Let’s display the national norms (labeled as “Test”) and test the hypothesis that our sample mean is the same as our national population mean of 20 using a parametric one sample ttest (type = "p"
).
set.seed(123)
ggstatsplot::gghistostats(
data = psych::sat.act, # data from which variable is to be taken
x = ACT, # numeric variable
xlab = "ACT Score", # xaxis label
title = "Distribution of ACT Scores", # title for the plot
ggtheme = ggthemes::theme_tufte(), # changing default theme
test.value = 20, # test value
caption = "Data courtesy of: SAPA project (https://sapaproject.org)"
)
gghistostats
computed Bayes Factors to quantify the likelihood of the research (BF10) and the null hypothesis (BF01). In our current example, the Bayes Factor value provides very strong evidence (Kass and Rafferty, 1995) in favor of the research hypothesis: these ACT scores are much higher than the national average. The log(Bayes factor) of 492.5 means the odds are 7.54e+213:1 that this sample is different.
grouped_gghistostats
What if we want to do the same analysis separately for each gender? ggstatsplot
provides a special helper function for such instances: grouped_gghistostats
. This is merely a wrapper function around ggstatsplot::combine_plots
. It applies gghistostats
across all levels of a specified grouping variable and then combines the individual plots into a single plot. Note that the grouping variable can be anything: conditions in a given study, groups in a study sample, different studies, etc.
Let’s see how we can use this function to apply gghistostats
to accomplish our task.
set.seed(123)
ggstatsplot::grouped_gghistostats(
# arguments relevant for ggstatsplot::gghistostats
data = psych::sat.act,
x = ACT, # same outcome variable
xlab = "ACT Score",
grouping.var = gender, # grouping variable males = 1, females = 2
type = "robust", # robust test: onesample percentile bootstrap
test.value = 20, # test value against which sample mean is to be compared
centrality.line.args = list(color = "#D55E00", linetype = "dashed"),
ggtheme = ggthemes::theme_stata(), # changing default theme
# turn off ggstatsplot theme layer
# arguments relevant for ggstatsplot::combine_plots
annotation.args = list(
title = "Distribution of ACT scores across genders",
caption = "Data courtesy of: SAPA project (https://sapaproject.org)"
),
plotgrid.args = list(nrow = 2)
)
As can be seen from these plots, the mean value is much higher than the national norm. Additionally, we see the benefits of plotting this data separately for each gender. We can see the differences in distributions.
purrr
Although this is a quick and dirty way to explore a large amount of data with minimal effort, it does come with an important limitation: reduced flexibility. For example, if we wanted to add, let’s say, a separate test.value
argument for each gender, this is not possible with grouped_gghistostats
.
For cases like these, or to run separate kinds of tests (robust for some, parametric for other, while Bayesian for some other levels of the group) it would be better to use purrr
.
See the associated vignette here: https://indrajeetpatil.github.io/ggstatsplot/articles/web_only/purrr_examples.html
graphical element 
geom_ used 
argument for further modification 

histogram bin  ggplot2::stat_bin 
bin.args 
centrality measure line  ggplot2::geom_vline 
centrality.line.args 
normality curve  ggplot2::stat_function 
normal.curve.args 
Central tendency measure
Type  Measure  Function used 

Parametric  mean  parameters::describe_distribution 
Nonparametric  median  parameters::describe_distribution 
Robust  trimmed mean  parameters::describe_distribution 
Bayesian  MAP (maximum a posteriori probability) estimate  parameters::describe_distribution 
Hypothesis testing
Type  Test  Function used 

Parametric  Onesample Student’s ttest  stats::t.test 
Nonparametric  Onesample Wilcoxon test  stats::wilcox.test 
Robust  Bootstrapt method for onesample test  WRS2::trimcibt 
Bayesian  Onesample Student’s ttest  BayesFactor::ttestBF 
Effect size estimation
Type  Effect size  CI?  Function used 

Parametric  Cohen’s d, Hedge’s g  ✅ 
effectsize::cohens_d , effectsize::hedges_g

Nonparametric  r (rankbiserial correlation)  ✅  effectsize::rank_biserial 
Robust  trimmed mean  ✅  WRS2::trimcibt 
Bayes Factor  \(\delta_{posterior}\)  ✅  bayestestR::describe_posterior 
If you wish to include statistical analysis results in a publication/report, the ideal reporting practice will be a hybrid of two approaches:
the ggstatsplot
approach, where the plot contains both the visual and numerical summaries about a statistical model, and
the standard narrative approach, which provides interpretive context for the reported statistics.
For example, let’s see the following example:
gghistostats(trees, Height, test.value = 75)
The narrative context (assuming type = "parametric"
) can complement this plot either as a figure caption or in the main text
Student’s ttest revealed that, across 31 felled black cherry trees, although the height was higher than expected height of 75 ft., this effect was not statistically significant. The effect size \((g = 0.15)\) was small, as per Cohen’s (1988) conventions. The Bayes Factor for the same analysis revealed that the data were 3.67 times more probable under the null hypothesis as compared to the alternative hypothesis. This can be considered moderate evidence (Jeffreys, 1961) in favor of the null hypothesis.
If you find any bugs or have any suggestions/remarks, please file an issue on GitHub: https://github.com/IndrajeetPatil/ggstatsplot/issues