The following general rules should be observed as a matter of precaution, while making tabulation of statistical data.
First, assign a number to the table for its identification and reference in future. Such number should be put at the top of the table.
Then give a proper heading or title to the table keeping in vie the nature of the data the table is going to present. Such title should be given in bold and prominent letters just below the number of the table, For this, the title should be as short as possible without losing clarity. It should be able to speak what exactly the table exhibits.
No abbreviation should be used in the titles and subtitles.
No ditto marks should be used, as at times it creates confusion on the part of the observers.
The table should be drawn clearly and completely so that it can be easily understood without any further explanation.
The units of the data presented such as ‘price in Rs.’ Or ‘weights in tonnes’ etc. should be clearly but briefly stated under the prefatory heading immediately below the title line of the table. If the different data have different units they should be stated at the top of the respective columns.
Fixing the Number of Columns and Rows
Keeping in view the nature and types of data to be presented, the number of rows and columns should be carefully fixed. Any mistake this respect will vitiate the whole efforts made in the tabulation.
The length and width of different columns and rows and those of the table as a whole should be fixed keeping in mind the size of the paper available and the quantum of data to be exhibited.
Every column and row of the table should be marked with number in a serial order so that it can be readily referred to as and when needed.
Overcrowding of the table with large number of data should be avoided . In such cases, the data should be presented in separate tables.
Minimization of Main Headings
The number of main headings should be few in order that the main points of the table may be easily grasped. However, the number of sub-headings may be large.
The caption (column headings), and the studs (row headings) should be self explanatory without leaving any room for further clarification.
The columns to be compared with each other should be kept close to each other. Similarly, the columns of percentages, averages, etc. should be kept close to the columns of the data.
Figures to be put in the body of the table should be approximated first
The totals of the rows should be shown in the extreme right column while the totals of the columns should be shown in the last row of the table.
The items should be arranged in some logical order viz. alphabetical, chronolohical, size, importance or causal relationship to facilitate comparison and analysis of the data.17.
Indicating the Emphasis
When certain figures need emphasis, they should be shown in boxes or circles or between two thick bars
In the preparation of the table logical sequence must be maintained. The table should be simple, but compact and should be free from overlapping and ambiguity.
The table must be so prepared that it suits the purpose of the enquiry.
The table should be drawn with an with an attractive get up so that it would be appealing to one’s eyes and mind and one can understand it without much strain. For this, the adjacent rows and columns should be separated by single, double or thick lines keeping in view the broad classes and sub-classes used.
The data should be tabulated in an explicit fashion without leaving any room for implicit meaning. The expression ‘etc’. should be avoided as it is likely to create confusion in the mind of an observe. Similarly, to put a zero data is not available, it should be put rather than the word zero. When any data is not available, it should be indicated by the abbreviation N.A. (Not Available) or by a – (dash) but never by 0.