Tables: Displaying Data in Research

Displaying data through tables

Displaying data through a table is the most preferred method in research writing. Tables are important because they make understanding of data easier. The lengthy amount of data that you might have received can become concise and precise with tables and figures. The tables can easily be created and formatted in Microsoft Word or any other software that you are using. Once you will be done with creating all the tables for the data you have received, you will see that your research is simplified and looks meaningful. While presenting data you will only need tables, figures, and diagrams to present your idea to the listeners. While displaying data in the form of tables you should make sure that the tables have a significance for your research. In some descriptive research, there is no need to display data in the form of tables, in descriptive research, you can simply state the data descriptively rather than displaying it in the form of tables.

Structure of tables in research


Each table has a title and this title needs to be concise but precise, the writer should give a numeric identity to the table as well. Titles need to explain clearly what the reader is going to see in the table. In your research, every table should have a unique title and the tables are listed with these titles.  The list of all the tables should be provided at the beginning of the research report alphabetically. If there are several chapters in the research, which mostly are, the chapter number should precede the table number to make it easy to find later on.


The body consists of the cells (columns and rows) that contain the main analyzed data. As tables are two-dimensional so to understand each point in the table body one needs to review it in light of both heading under which it falls vertically and horizontally.


There are two types of headings in the table, the headings along the y-axis and the headings along the x-axis. The headings along the y-axis describe one variable about which the information is presented in the body of the table. The headings along the x-axis represent another variable about which also the information or data is represented in the body.

Types of tables in research

  • A very simple table is one that is used in showing qualitative data in research. This kind of table does not have any variable to compare or study. This kind of table is used to give examples or to enlist something or to show categories of different items.
  • There are also numeric tables, these tables are more commonly used in the research than the simple qualitative table. These tables provide numeric values of a variable under study.
  • Statistical tables can be of two types; analysis of variance or ANOVA tables and regression tables. While displaying data that is quantitative the researcher needs to know about the variables and their type that have to be analyzed to better make the decision about the type of table.


  • Birchman, J. S., A. (2003). Enhancing the appearance of information graphic. Engineering Design Graphics Journal, 67(1), 17.
  • Wright, P. (1977). Presenting technical information: A survey of research findings. Instructional Science, 6, 93-134.




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