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Characteristics of a Good Table in Statistics

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Tabulation means the systematic presentation of the information contained in the data, in rows and columns in accordance with some salient features or characteristics. Rows are horizontal arrangements and columns are vertical arrangements.

A statistical table is the logical listing of related quantitative data in vertical columns and horizontal rows of numbers with sufficient explanatory and qualifying words, phrases, and statements in the form of titles, headings, and notes to make clear the full meaning of data and their origin.

We now list out some of the characteristics that any good table must have:

  1. The table should be short, to the point and easy to understand. There should be no scope for ambiguities in the table.
  2. The table should be drawn in such a way that it is easy to make comparisons and analyse the data. The relationship between the two or more factors should be easy visible. Some special points/values can be emphasized by using bold/italics lettering.
  3. The table should have a clear title and various sub-titles and captions. The reader should be able to understand the information presented at a glance. The source of the data in table should also be provided, so that the reader can cross-check and reference the data.
  4. The table should be of an appropriate size and look visually appealling. The reader should be able to read the data easily without making any special efforts.
  5. The table should not contain any errors. When transcribing the data into the table, care should be taken that there are no inadvertent mistakes. This is very important because statistical conclusion are made on the basis of the data presented in the table. Therefore, the data in the table must be accurate and free of mistakes.
  6. The data in the table should be presented systematically. For example, time series data can be presented chronologically. If there is no precedence among the different factors in the table then the data can simply be presented in alphabetical order.
  7. If the table is summarising some bigger data set, then it should contain the common statistical measures such as mean, median, mode, variance, skewness, kurtosis, etc.
Example of a Good Table in Statistics

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