Tabulation of Data and Parts of a Table
To construct a table it is important to learn first what the parts of a good statistical table are. When put together in a systematically ordered manner these parts form a table. The simplest way of conceptualising a table may be data presented in rows and columns along with some explanatory notes. Tabulation can be done using one-way, two-way or three-way classification depending upon the number of characteristics involved. A good table should essentially have the following:
- Table Number
Table number is assigned to a table for identification purpose. If more than one table is presented, it is the table number that distinguishes one table from another. It is given at the top or at the beginning of the title of the table. Generally, table numbers are whole numbers in ascending order if there are many tables in a book. Subscripted numbers like 1.2, 3.1, etc. are also in use for identifying the table according to its location. For example, Table number 4.5 may read as fifth table of the fourth chapter and so on. (See Table 4.5)
The title of a table narrates about the contents of the table. It has to be very clear, brief and carefully worded so that the interpretations made from the table are clear and free from any ambiguity. It finds place at the head of the table succeeding the table number or just below it. (See Table 4.5).
- Captions or Column Headings
At the top of each column in a table a column designation is given to explain figures of the column. This is called caption or column heading. (See Table 4.5)
- Stubs or Row Headings
Like a caption or column heading each row of the table has to be given a heading. The designations of the rows are also called stubs or stub items, and the complete left column is known as stub column. A brief description of the row headings may also be given at the left hand top in the table. (See Table 4.5).
- Body of the Table
Body of a table is the main part and it contains the actual data. Location of any one figure/data in the table is fixed and determined by the row and column of the table. For example, data in the second row and fourth column indicate that 25 crore females in rural India were non-workers in 2001. (See Table 4.5).
- Unit of Measurement
The unit of measurement of the figures in the table (actual data) should always be stated along with the title if the unit does not change throughout the table. If different units are there for rows or columns of the table, these units must be stated along with 'stubs' or 'captions'. If figures are large, they should be rounded up and the method Of rounding should be indicated (See Table 4.5).
(Note: Table 4.5 presents the same data in tabular form already presented through case 2 in textual presentation of data)
- Source Note
It is a brief statement or phrase indicating the source of data presented in the table. If more than one source is there, all the sources are to be written in the source note. Source note is generally written at the bottom of the table.
(See Table 4.5).
Footnote is the last part of the table. Footnote explains the specific feature of the data content of the table which is not self explanatory and has not been explained earlier.
- How many rows and columns are essentially required to form a table?
- Can the column/row headings of a table be quantitative?