Statistical Standards Program
Table of Contents
1. Development of Concepts and Methods
2. Planning and Design of Surveys
3. Collection of Data
4. Processing and Editing of Data
5. Analysis of Data / Production of Estimates or Projections
6. Establishment of Review Procedures
7. Dissemination of Data
·Major Types of Tables
·Sizing a Table
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|APPENDIX C: NCES GUIDELINES FOR TABULAR PRESENTATIONS (2002 Edition)|
The formal tables (summary, reference, and methodological) have headings consisting of identification symbols (numerical or alphabetical); descriptive titles; and, sometimes, headnotes.
Readily available for identifiers are Arabic numerals and the English alphabet in uppercase and lowercase. Arabic numerals are easiest to comprehend and can extend easily through any number of table titles. In addition, the tables within a particular series may have sub-series that need to be related. For example, a main or "master" table may show particular data for all postsecondary institutions in the United States, followed by a subseries of tables showing identical kinds of data separately for universities, other 4-year institutions, and 2-year institutions. They should be numbered with a basic identifier and an appropriate suffix that is selected to avoid disrupting the standard numbering system and to bring out the table relationships, as shown in the following example:
Table 5-B. 4-year institutions
Table 5-C. 2-year institutions
The same scheme might be used for a frequency table showing basic figures followed by a table of percents or medians derived from the basic figures (tables 5 and 5-A).
A slight variation may be used when component parts are shown separately in a series of tables without a master table. These tables are basically a single whole table that is split apart into a series of consecutive tables for convenience. They might be numbered 5-A, 5-B, etc.
Table 5-B. Privately controlled institutions
Appendices should be lettered; and tables in appendices should be assigned the letter of the appendix and a number suffix. For example, tables in appendix A should be labeled A-1, A-2, etc.; in appendix B, B-1, B-2, etc. If there is a methodology table for each summary/text table, it is helpful to use the appendix letter followed by a number suffix, where the number corresponds to the text table number.
Wording of Table Titles
Thus, we might have:
Table 1. Full-time equivalent fall enrollment in postsecondary
Note the punctuation, a period and two "n" spaces between number and first word are used to separate the title from the table identifier. A comma is used before the "by" classification, with commas separating series of three or more components, including a comma before "and." Finally, a colon is used before "where" or "when" reference (use a comma between where and when if both are present). Note also that, besides proper nouns, the first word of the title and the first word after the colon begin with capital letters.
For the "how classified" segment, a definite order should be used. Start with the data-column heads crossing left to right and top to bottom, then the stub. For example, the title above would fit a table set up like this:
If the purpose is to emphasize one of these elements, rewording of the title might better reflect the content. For example, the element that sets this table apart from others in a series might be the control classification. Then the title could read: "Enrollments in publicly and privately controlled institutions of higher education, by age, sex, and state: 1998" leaving out "control" in the classification segment.
The title must never promise more than the table contains, but the table may contain more. To avoid excessive wordiness, generalizations may be used, but table titles should be detailed and explicit enough to differentiate any one table from all others in a report. For example, if the number of items in the classification segment is lengthy and a subset of items are repeated across a series of tables, the table titles might read:
Table 1. Fall enrollment in elementary and secondary schools, by free
The wording should be in topical form, not in sentence form. This means that verbs are omitted from titles, as are articles and other parts of speech that do not convey the basic "numbers of," "percent of," and "distributions of" if the meaning and differentiation from other tables are clear without them. Carefully chosen headnotes and footnotes also may help shorten titles. Abbreviations are used sparingly, and then only those that are commonly accepted or otherwise identified, as in footnotes or text.
Placement of Titles
Table 1. The first line of the title extends the first line the width
Titles for Multi-page Tables
Table 1. Total expenditures for public elementary and secondary
In the case of a double-page-spread table the word "¾Continued" is added after the first pair of facing pages.