A statistical table has nine essential components depicted as under:
(i) Identifying Number.
A number is assigned to every table to identify itself, and refer the same as and when necessary. It is put at the top of the table preferably at the centre.
(ii) Title or Heading.
An appropriate heading, or title is given to every table indicating briefly the nature of the data displayed in the table. This is written prominently just below the indentifying number of the table.
(iii) Head note, of Prefatory note.
A note explaining briefly the term of the heading or title is given just as a preface to the table. Such a note. This is given just as a preface to the table. Such a note is called a prefatory or head note. This is given usually within a bracket just below the title of the table. Generally, the units of measurement viz. “in tones”, “in’ 000 Rs”, ‘in percentages’ etc. are indicated through this note.
A caption means a heading given to a column of the table for identification, and ready reference of the data inserted therein. Every column of a table should be given a caption at its top. Such captions should be written briefly and prominently. When a column is subdivided into different columns, the caption to the main column should be stated ate the top its central place, and the captions to the subdivided columns should be put at the top of the respective columns below the main caption. Further, each column should indicate the unit of the data viz. Rs. Kg., mds, etc. displayed by it. Such units should be stated just below the caption.
A stud means a heading given to a row of a table for identification, and ready reference of the data presented through it. It should be mentioned prominently at the left end of each of the rows. But it is not necessary to put the units of the data below the stubs.
(vi) Body of the Table
This is the main part of the table in which the numerical figures are put coordinating the respective columns and rows of the table. The arrangement of the body is generally made from left to the right in the rows and from top to the bottom in the columns. If any figure is not available corresponding to any coordinated cell of the table, the same may be indicated by the abbreviation N.A. (not available) or by a – (dash).
The figures of each of the columns and subcolumns, and those of each of the rows should be totaled. For getting the totals of the different columns in a prominent manner, a separate ‘row of totals’ is provided at the bottom of the table. Similarly, for getting the totals of the different columns in a prominent manner, a separate ‘column of total’s’ is provided at the right end of the table. However, for getting the totals of the different subcolumns and subrows, subtotal columns are provided at the end of the subcolumns of a main column.
(viii) Foot Notes
A footnote means an explanation, or elaboration made briefly at the foot, or end of a statement. In the matter of tabulation, if any explanation or elaboration regarding any point is necessary viz. title, captions, stubs, etc. the same should be given at the end of the table against and identifying mark like *’ + @, $ + etc.
(ix) Source Note
The date presented in a table can not be relied upon unless the sources from which they have been collected are indicated properly. Therefore, it has been customary to indicate the source of the data, the name of the author, the title of the work, its page number, publisher’s name and the year of publication etc. should be mentioned clearly.