How To Plot Features Scores In Python

Plotting feature scores is a crucial step in exploratory data analysis and feature selection. It helps us understand the importance of each feature in our dataset and can guide us in making informed decisions during the model building process. In this article, I will guide you through the process of plotting feature scores using Python.

Getting Started

To begin, we first need to import the necessary libraries. We will be using the pandas library to load and manipulate our dataset, and the matplotlib library to create our plots. Let’s start by installing these libraries if you don’t have them already:

pip install pandas matplotlib

Once the libraries are installed, we can import them into our Python script:

import pandas as pd
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

Loading the Dataset

Next, we need to load our dataset into a pandas DataFrame. Let’s assume our dataset is stored in a CSV file called “data.csv”. We can load it using the following code:

df = pd.read_csv('data.csv')

If your dataset is stored in a different format, such as Excel or JSON, pandas provides functions to load those formats as well.

Calculating Feature Scores

Now that we have our dataset loaded, we can proceed to calculate the feature scores. There are various methods to calculate feature scores, such as correlation coefficients, statistical tests, or machine learning algorithms. The choice of method depends on the nature of your data and the problem you are trying to solve.

For the purpose of this article, let’s assume we are working with a classification problem and we want to calculate the feature importance using the chi-squared test. We can use the chi2 function from the scipy.stats module:

from scipy.stats import chi2_contingency

feature_scores, p_values = chi2_contingency(df.iloc[:, :-1], df.iloc[:, -1])

The chi2_contingency function calculates the chi-square statistic and p-value for each feature with respect to the target variable. The higher the chi-square statistic and the lower the p-value, the more important the feature is.

Plotting Feature Scores

Now that we have our feature scores calculated, let’s plot them to visualize the importance of each feature. We can use a bar plot to display the feature scores:

plt.figure(figsize=(10, 6))[:-1], feature_scores)
plt.ylabel('Feature Scores')
plt.title('Feature Scores in Dataset')

This code creates a bar plot with the feature names on the x-axis and the feature scores on the y-axis. We rotate the x-axis labels by 90 degrees to prevent overlap if there are many features.

Interpreting the Plot

Now that we have our plot, we can interpret the results. Features with higher scores are more important and contribute more to the target variable. Conversely, features with lower scores have less impact on the target variable.

It is important to remember that the interpretation of feature scores depends on the specific problem and dataset. It is always recommended to consult domain experts and consider the context of the problem before making any decisions based on feature scores.


Plotting feature scores is a valuable technique in data analysis and feature selection. It helps us understand the importance of each feature and can guide us in building better models. In this article, we learned how to plot feature scores in Python using the pandas and matplotlib libraries. By visualizing the feature scores, we can make informed decisions about which features to include in our models.

Remember, feature scores are just one piece of the puzzle. It is essential to combine feature scores with domain knowledge and other techniques to build robust and accurate models. Happy coding!