[R] understanding patterns in categorical vs. continuous data

Dylan Beaudette dylan.beaudette at gmail.com
Thu Jan 26 20:11:00 CET 2006


I have a set of bivariate data: one variable (vegetation type) which is 
categorical, and one (computed annual insolation) which is continuous. 
Plotting veg_type ~ insolation produces a nice overview of the patterns that 
I can see in the source data. However, due to the large number of samples 
(1,000), and the apparent "spread" in the distribution of a single vegetation 
type over a range of insolation values- I having a hard time quantitatively 
describing the relationship between the two variables. 

Here is a link to a sample graph:

Since the data along each vegetation type "line" is not a distribution in the 
traditional sense, I am having problems applying descriptive statistical 
methods. Conceptually, I would like to some how describe the variation with 
insolation, along each vegetation type "line".

Any guidance, or suggested reading material would be greatly appreciated.

Dylan Beaudette
Soils and Biogeochemistry Graduate Group
University of California at Davis

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