line graph on paper

How To Construct a Line Graph On Paper


What To Do

How To Do It


Identify the variables

  1. Independent Variable –
    (controlled by the experimenter)
    • Goes on the X axis (horizontal)
    • Should be on the left side of a data table
  2. Dependent Variable –
    (changes with the independent variable)
    • Goes on the Y axis (vertical)
    • Should be on the right side of a data table


Determine the variable range.

  1. Subtract the lowest data value from the highest data value.
  2. Do each variable separately. 


Determine the scale of the graph.

  1. Determine a scale.
    (the numerical value for each square),
    that best fits the range of each variable.
  2. Spread the graph to use MOST of the available space.


Number and label each axis.

  • This tells what data the lines on your graph represent.


Plot the data points.

  1. Plot each data value on the graph with a dot.
  2. You can put the data number by the dot, if it does not clutter your graph.


Draw the graph.

  1. Draw a curve or a line that best fits the data points.
  2. Most graphs of experimental data are not drawn as "connect-the-dots".


Title the graph.

  1. Your title should clearly tell what the graph is about.
  2. If your graph has more than one set of data, provide a "key" to identify the different lines.