A Good Statistical Table must Contain...

Introduction

The word Statistics is very popularly used in practice. It conveys a variety of meanings to people many of which are inaccurate or, at the very least, misleading.
The average person conceives of `statistics’ as column of figures, zigzag graphs or tables like statistics of production, conscription, per capita income, imports, exports, crimes, divorce, share prices.

Webster defined statistics as “the classified facts respecting the condition of the people in a State especially those facts which can be stated in numbers or in tables o, numbers or in any tabular or classified arrangement” (Business Statistics: 3).

Tabulation:

Tabulation is the process of condensation. It is the systematic and orderly presentation of classified data in a definite form so as to elucidate the characteristics of the data. In statistical tables the numerical information is presented in such a form that the information so presented turns to be readily understandable. Tables are designed to summaries facts revealed by enquiry and to present them in such a way that all the important factors contained in the data under review are displayed. Tables tend to simplify the presentation and facilitate comparison between related facts. Tabular presentation takes the form of arranging statistical date in columns and rows. The idea of a table will be clear if we look to the different parts of a table.

Construction of a table:

The preparation of a good table is an art. The purpose of tabulation must always be kept in mind before the preparation of a statistical table. A good statistical table must contain at least the following components.

1. Table number: A table should always be numbered for easy identification and reference in future

2. Title of the table: A table mu8st have a suitable title. Title is the description of the contents of the table. So the title should be clear, brief and self-explanatory.

3. Caption: Caption refers to the column headings. It explains what the column represents. A caption should be brief, concise and self-explanatory. Captions are usually written in the middle of the columns in small letters to economies space.

4. Stubs: These refer to the headings of horizontal rows. They are at the extreme left.

5. Body: The body of the table contains the numerical information. This is the most vital part of the table. Data presented in the body arranged according to descriptions are classifications of the captions and stubs.

6. Head note : It is a brief explanatory statement applying to all or a major part of the material in the table, and in placed below the title and enclosed in brackets.

7. Footnote: Anything in a table that the reader may find difficult to understand form the title, captions and stubs should be explained in footnotes. If footnotes are needed, they are placed directly below the body of the table. In most cases footnotes are used to mention the source of data especially in case of secondary data.

Types of Tables:

Tables may broadly be classified into two categories:

1. Simple and complex tables; and

2. General purpose and special purpose (or summary) tables

(i) Simple table or one-way table. In this type of table only one characteristic is shown. This is the simplest of tables. The following is the illustration of such a table:

(ii) Two-way teble. Such a table shows two characteristics and is formed when either the stub or the caption is divided into two coordinate parts. The example given on page 56 illustrates the nature of such a table:

Utility of Tabulation:

After the collection of data, the next step is to present them in some suitable form-statistical table is one of them. Tabulation enables the numerical facts to be presented in such a way that their analysis, interpretation and subsequent computation becomes easier. Decision-makers neither have the opportunity nor have enough time to go through bulky data. They want the information in a precise form so that conclusions can be want the information in a precise form so that conclusions can be drawn from them without much wastage of time and energy. Tabulation is thought to be useful tool in this respect. The condensed facts presented in table can be easily visualized and the needed information can be easily sorted out. The comparability of the data increases significantly when they are placed side by side in a table. This also helps the establishment of relationship between different phenomena. Tabulation paves the way for further condensation of the data by presenting them in suitable forms for mathematical treatment. Statistics is the study of large numbers. The study of a large number of cases is difficult unless some process of condensing the information is available.

Statistical tables conserve space and reduce explanatory and descriptive statements to a minimum.

The visualization of relations and process of comparison are greatly facilitated by tables.

Tabulated data can be more easily remembered than data that are not tabulated.

A tabular arrangement facilitates the summation of items and the detection of errors and omissions and Statistical tables provide a basis for computations.

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