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Tabulation and Presentation: Meaning, objectives and Types of Classification

Tabulation is the systematic arrangement of the statistical data in columns or rows. It involves the orderly and systematic presentation of numerical data in a form designed to explain the problem under consideration. Tabulation helps in drawing the inference from the statistical figures.

Tabulation prepares the ground for analysis and interpretation. Therefore a suitable method must be decided carefully taking into account the scope and objects of the investigation, because it is very important part of the statistical methods.

Types of Tabulation

In general, the tabulation is classified in two parts, that is a simple tabulation, and a complex tabulation.

Simple tabulation, gives information regarding one or more independent questions. Complex tabulation gives information regarding two mutually dependent questions.

Two-Way Table

These types of table give information regarding two mutually dependent questions. For example, question is, how many millions of the persons are in the Divisions; the One-Way Table will give the answer. But if we want to know that in the population number, who are in the majority, male, or female. The Two-Way Tables will answer the question by giving the column for female and male. Thus the table showing the real picture of divisions sex wise is as under:

Three-Way Table

Three-Way Table gives information regarding three mutually dependent and inter-related questions.

For example, from one-way table, we get information about population, and from two-way table, we get information about the number of male and female available in various divisions. Now we can extend the same table to a three way table, by putting a question, “How many male and female are literate?” Thus the collected statistical data will show the following, three mutually dependent and inter-related questions:

  1. Population in various division.
  2. Their sex-wise distribution.
  3. Their position of literacy.

Presentation of Data

Presentation of data is of utter importance nowadays. Afterall everything that’s pleasing to our eyes never fails to grab our attention. Presentation of data refers to an exhibition or putting up data in an attractive and useful manner such that it can be easily interpreted. The three main forms of presentation of data are:

  1. Textual presentation
  2. Data tables
  3. Diagrammatic presentation

Textual Presentation

The discussion about the presentation of data starts off with it’s most raw and vague form which is the textual presentation. In such form of presentation, data is simply mentioned as mere text, that is generally in a paragraph. This is commonly used when the data is not very large.

This kind of representation is useful when we are looking to supplement qualitative statements with some data. For this purpose, the data should not be voluminously represented in tables or diagrams. It just has to be a statement that serves as a fitting evidence to our qualitative evidence and helps the reader to get an idea of the scale of a phenomenon.

For example, “the 2002 earthquake proved to be a mass murderer of humans. As many as 10,000 citizens have been reported dead”. The textual representation of data simply requires some intensive reading. This is because the quantitative statement just serves as an evidence of the qualitative statements and one has to go through the entire text before concluding anything.

Further, if the data under consideration is large then the text matter increases substantially. As a result, the reading process becomes more intensive, time-consuming and cumbersome.

Data Tables or Tabular Presentation

A table facilitates representation of even large amounts of data in an attractive, easy to read and organized manner. The data is organized in rows and columns. This is one of the most widely used forms of presentation of data since data tables are easy to construct and read.

Components of Data Tables

  • Table Number: Each table should have a specific table number for ease of access and locating. This number can be readily mentioned anywhere which serves as a reference and leads us directly to the data mentioned in that particular table.
  • Title: A table must contain a title that clearly tells the readers about the data it contains, time period of study, place of study and the nature of classification of data.
  • Headnotes: A headnote further aids in the purpose of a title and displays more information about the table. Generally, headnotes present the units of data in brackets at the end of a table title.
  • Stubs: These are titles of the rows in a table. Thus a stub display information about the data contained in a particular row.
  • Caption: A caption is the title of a column in the data table. In fact, it is a counterpart if a stub and indicates the information contained in a column.
  • Body or field: The body of a table is the content of a table in its entirety. Each item in a body is known as a ‘cell’.
  • Footnotes: Footnotes are rarely used. In effect, they supplement the title of a table if required.
  • Source: When using data obtained from a secondary source, this source has to be mentioned below the footnote.

Construction of Data Tables

There are many ways for construction of a good table. However, some basic ideas are:

  • The title should be in accordance with the objective of study: The title of a table should provide a quick insight into the table.
  • Comparison: If there might arise a need to compare any two rows or columns then these might be kept close to each other.
  • Alternative location of stubs: If the rows in a data table are lengthy, then the stubs can be placed on the right-hand side of the table.
  • Headings: Headings should be written in a singular form. For example, ‘good’ must be used instead of ‘goods’.
  • Footnote: A footnote should be given only if needed.
  • Size of columns: Size of columns must be uniform and symmetrical.
  • Use of abbreviations: Headings and sub-headings should be free of abbreviations.
  • Units: There should be a clear specification of units above the columns.

The Advantages of Tabular Presentation

  • Ease of representation: A large amount of data can be easily confined in a data table. Evidently, it is the simplest form of data presentation.
  • Ease of analysis: Data tables are frequently used for statistical analysis like calculation of central tendency, dispersion etc.
  • Helps in comparison: In a data table, the rows and columns which are required to be compared can be placed next to each other. To point out, this facilitates comparison as it becomes easy to compare each value.
  • Economical: Construction of a data table is fairly easy and presents the data in a manner which is really easy on the eyes of a reader. Moreover, it saves time as well as space.

Classification of Data and Tabular Presentation

Qualitative Classification

In this classification, data in a table is classified on the basis of qualitative attributes. In other words, if the data contained attributes that cannot be quantified like rural-urban, boys-girls etc. it can be identified as a qualitative classification of data.

Sex Urban Rural
Boys 200 390
Girls 167 100

Quantitative Classification

In quantitative classification, data is classified on basis of quantitative attributes.

Marks No. of Students
0-50 29
51-100 64

Temporal Classification

Here data is classified according to time. Thus when data is mentioned with respect to different time frames, we term such a classification as temporal.

Year Sales
2016 10,000
2017 12,500

Spatial Classification

When data is classified according to a location, it becomes a spatial classification.

Country No. of Teachers
India 139,000
Russia 43,000

Advantages of Tabulation

  1. The large mass of confusing data is easily reduced to reasonable form that is understandable to kind.
  2. The data once arranged in a suitable form, gives the condition of the situation at a glance, or gives a bird eye view.
  3. From the table it is easy to draw some reasonable conclusion or inferences.
  4. Tables gave grounds for analysis of the data.
  5. Errors, and omission if any are always detected in tabulation.

Therefore the importance of a carefully drawn table is vital for the preparation of data for analysis and interpretation.




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