Textual and Tabular Presentation of Data: Classification, Data Tables etc

The compilation of these Presentation of Data Notes makes students exam preparation simpler and organised.

Textual and Tabular Presentation of Data

Think about a scenario where your report cards are printed in a textual format. Your grades and remarks about you are presented in a paragraph format instead of data tables. Would be very confusing right? This is why data must be presented correctly and clearly. Let us take a look.

Presentation of Data

Presentation of data is of utter importance nowadays. After all, 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

Here we will be studying only the textual and tabular presentation, i.e. data tables in some detail.

Presentation of Data

Textual Presentation

The discussion about the presentation of data starts off with its most raw and vague form which is the textual presentation. In such a form of presentation, data is simply mentioned as mere text, which 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 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 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 the 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 the 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 to construct a good table. However, some basic ideas are:

The title should be in accordance with the objective of the 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 in 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.

Qualitative Classification

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

Quantitative Classification

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.

Temporal Classification

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

Spatial Classification


The classification in which data in a table is classified according to time is known as:
1. Qualitative
2. Quantitative
3. Temporal
4. Spatial
The form of classification in which data is classified based on time frames is known as the temporal classification of data and tabular presentation.