Advantages of Tabulation
a. Helps to make data easily understandable: Tabulation ignores the unnecessary data and presents the data in a systematic and precise way. Thus, the table presents the complex data in the simple way so that everyone can easily understand the data.
b. Facilitates comparison: Different types of data can be presented in single table. So, every data set can be compared with another set and some facts can be disclosed.
c. Saves time and energy: Similar types of data are kept under one head or sub-heads. So, the tabulation of data saves time and energy for the researcher.
d. Avoids repetition: Data are presented putting similar nature of data under one head. So, chances of repetition of data are avoided.
e. Can easily remember: Systematization of data condenses the data in few numbers. Such a few numbers of data can be easily remembered for the future.
Main Parts of a Table
Parts of a table depend on the nature of research, design of data and objects of the research. Even though, the following are the main parts that that are used in the table commonly:
a. Number of the table: Each table should be numbered for reference in the future. The number may be given either in the center above the title or inside the title at the top.
b. Title of the table: Every table should have an appropriate title. It shows brief descriptions of the contents of the table. It is to be placed above the table.
c. Column caption: Caption refers to the column heading. Captions are placed in the middle of the column.
d. Title of the row: It refers to row heading. It is written on the left side of the row. It is necessary to give information about the row.
e. Body of the table: It is the most important part of the table. It contains numerical facts and figures arranging in rows and columns.
f. Head note: It is used to explain certain points related to the whole table that have not been included in the title and caption and row title. It is usually placed below the point cantered and enclosed in brackets. For example, units of measurement like hector, lakhs in rupees, etc.
g. Footnote: Some terms and figures contained in the table cannot be clearly understood from the title, captions, row title, and headnotes. In such cases, footnotes are given below the table in order to explain such facts.
h. Sources: If a table is prepared on the basis of secondary data, their sources should be given with proper details below the footnotes.
Rules for Tabulation of Data
There is no hard and fast rule for preparing tables. The structure of the table generally depends on the nature of the data and objectives of the research. Even though, some fundamental rules are followed while preparing the table. They are given below:
1. The table should suit the size of the paper with proper rows and columns. Table and every fact included in it should be easily seen.
2. Table should be clear, correct and attractive so that it can be easily read and understood.
3. Table is to be drawn based on the objectives of the research.
4. The units of measurement under each heading or sub-headings must always be indicated such as weight in kg., length in inch, etc.
5. There should be a proper title to each table. It should express what the table presents. Captions and row heads should be self-explanatory. Head number, footnote, and sources are to be written as per necessity.
6. The table should be precise and easy to understand.
7. Abbreviations should be avoided especially in titles and headings.
8. Different types of letters (bold, italic, capital, etc.) can be used for figures which are to be emphasized,
9. Ditto marks and, etc. types of symbols should not be used in the table. The use of such symbols creates confusion.
10. Table should not be overloaded. If it is essential to present, you have to use more than one table.