Monash University
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The banksia plot: a method for visually comparing point estimates and confidence intervals across datasets

posted on 2024-03-26, 02:58 authored by Simon TurnerSimon Turner, Amalia Karahalios, Elizabeth KorevaarElizabeth Korevaar, Joanne E. McKenzie

Companion data for the creation of a banksia plot:


In research evaluating statistical analysis methods, a common aim is to compare point estimates and confidence intervals (CIs) calculated from different analyses. This can be challenging when the outcomes (and their scale ranges) differ across datasets. We therefore developed a plot to facilitate pairwise comparisons of point estimates and confidence intervals from different statistical analyses both within and across datasets.


The plot was developed and refined over the course of an empirical study. To compare results from a variety of different studies, a system of centring and scaling is used. Firstly, the point estimates from reference analyses are centred to zero, followed by scaling confidence intervals to span a range of one. The point estimates and confidence intervals from matching comparator analyses are then adjusted by the same amounts. This enables the relative positions of the point estimates and CI widths to be quickly assessed while maintaining the relative magnitudes of the difference in point estimates and confidence interval widths between the two analyses. Banksia plots can be graphed in a matrix, showing all pairwise comparisons of multiple analyses. In this paper, we show how to create a banksia plot and present two examples: the first relates to an empirical evaluation assessing the difference between various statistical methods across 190 interrupted time series (ITS) data sets with widely varying characteristics, while the second example assesses data extraction accuracy comparing results obtained from analysing original study data (43 ITS studies) with those obtained by four researchers from datasets digitally extracted from graphs from the accompanying manuscripts.


In the banksia plot of statistical method comparison, it was clear that there was no difference, on average, in point estimates and it was straightforward to ascertain which methods resulted in smaller, similar or larger confidence intervals than others. In the banksia plot comparing analyses from digitally extracted data to those from the original data it was clear that both the point estimates and confidence intervals were all very similar among data extractors and original data.


The banksia plot, a graphical representation of centred and scaled confidence intervals, provides a concise summary of comparisons between multiple point estimates and associated CIs in a single graph. Through this visualisation, patterns and trends in the point estimates and confidence intervals can be easily identified.

This collection of files allows the user to create the images used in the companion paper and amend this code to create their own banksia plots using either Stata version 17 or R version 4.3.1


NHMRC GNT2009612


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