[R-pkgs] New package: ``denstrip'' for compactly illustrating distributions

From: Chris Jackson <chris.jackson_at_mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 14:38:57 +0100

Dear R users,

I'd like to announce a new package on CRAN called ``denstrip''. It implements ``density strips'' and other graphical methods for illustrating and comparing distributions in a compact fashion.

Posterior distributions of parameters are often summarised using point and line drawings of means and credible intervals. This is common, for example, in multiple regression or meta-analysis. Density strips generalise these to illustrate whole distributions. Instead of a point and line, a shaded strip indicates the density as proportional to the darkness of the shading. They taper to white at the end of the strip, instead of terminating at a clear limit - this may discourage casually categorising effects as ``significant'' if the line excludes the null.

The shading idea generalises to ``density regions'' to show uncertainty about continuously-varying quantities, such as predictions from time series. The package includes other functions for illustrating distributions in ``one dimension'', such as varying-width strips (similar to violin plots) and sectioned density plots.

If you're interested in reading more about these methods, I discuss them in a forthcoming article in The American Statistician, ``Displaying uncertainty with shading'', also available from


Comments and suggestions for improvement of the package are welcome.

Christopher Jackson <chris.jackson_at_mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk>
Research Statistician, MRC Biostatistics Unit, Institute of Public
Health, Robinson Way, Cambridge, UK, CB2 0SR. +44 (1223) 330381

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Received on Thu 28 Aug 2008 - 22:16:03 EST

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