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Tables are an excellent way to display data or information in an organized fashion. By putting data in tables one can easily from there set up a graph to illustrate the data.
Tables have several features in common. First, all tables as well as graphs should have a title to let the reader know the subject of the table or graph. Most tables consist of a series of rows and columns. These rows and columns intersect to form cells, the basic unit of the table in which a piece of data is placed.
A row is a series of cells going horizontally across the table. A column is a series of cells going vertically or up and down the table. One can tell where a particular piece of data is by describing the row and column the cell that contains the data is located. A whole table with the crossed lines to form the rows and columns is sometimes referred to as a grid.
We will examine some sample tables below and then discuss how the data might be used for a graph.
The first table is entitled "Favorite Pets of Students" based on a survey of students. In the first row across are the names of the various pets named by students. In each column underneath the various categories of responses are the numbers of responses for each pet. Notice the final category in the last cell in the first row is entitled "Other". This is frequently used as a sort of catchall category for various responses that do not fall into the categories cited by most of the people responding to the survey. This sort of table lends itself to a bar or column graph as the information is a one time response. A circle graph could be used but as the population of students is not clearly defined here, it may be difficult to say what the whole group is that is being surveyed for their results.
FAVORITE PETS OF STUDENTS
This next table has the title "Favorite Student After School Activity" based on a survey. In this case, the categories of activities are listed in the first column and the numbers or values for each activity in the second column. Once again, this would be a bar or column graph would be an excellent illustration of this data as it is a one time survey of the student population.
Favorite Student After School Activity
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In the third table, the title is "Average Daily Temperature for January 1-7 in Degrees Fahrenheit" Once again, the date is in the first column and the temperature in the second. This sort of data lends itself well to a line graph as the temperature is a continuous item that fluctuates.
Average Daily Temperature for January 1-7 in Degrees Fahrenheit
The final table is titled "Percent of Hours of a Day Spent on Activities". In this table there are three columns. In the first column is the activity, in the second column the number of hours spent on the activity and in the last the percent of the whole day spent on that activity. This sort of table's data would be well illustrated by a circle or pie graph as it show the parts of a whole - in this case hours of a day and how they were spent.
Percent of Hours of a Day Spent on Activities
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