Research Writing

What is tabulation of data in survey types objective How to tabulate

After collecting information relevant to your study, you must take care of data selection, coding, and tabulation. These three procedures prepare for the most important stage of the work: the analysis and interpretation of the results.

Most course completion papers take into account secondary data, which are collected and tabulated by public bodies and agencies, such as IBGE, INEP and DATASUS. However, to make the study more complete, you need to look for primary data, that is, go to the field.

The collection of primary data can be done in different ways, such as interviews, observations, experiments and the application of questionnaires . 

What is tabulation of data in survey?

Tabulation of data is a way of arranging information in tables, with the aim of simplifying the verification and interrelationships of research variables . 

tab types

single tab

It makes a simple count of the frequency that a certain characteristic occurs in the set.

Example: When researching the weight of 950 students, it is concluded that 350 are overweight.

For ease of tabulation and graphing, the frequency count can be converted to a percentage. In the situation above, for example, it was identified that 36.8% of the evaluated sample is overweight.


The cross tabulation is a little more elaborate, after all, it counts the frequency considering two sets or more.

Example: Interrelation of income and education categories.


The act of tabulating a survey consists of a technical procedure of statistical analysis. It is, therefore, a means of synthesizing the collected data, categorizing them and representing them with graphs . 

In the tabulation process, data is separated into subcategories. In this way, the researcher is able to prove or refute the hypotheses raised at the beginning of his course completion work. In addition, tabulation makes the information easier to read. 

Tabulation facilitates statistical work and stands out as an indispensable step in quantitative research . 

How to tabulate search data?

The structuring of data within a spreadsheet is done as follows:

Creating a base model

Open a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs . In a single file, place all the information collected in the survey. You don’t need to have multiple worksheets to organize the information. Instead, take advantage of tabs within the same file.

Let’s assume you are tabulating responses from a quiz. Each question must occupy a tab on the worksheet.

Each sampling unit is on a line

One way to facilitate the organization and analysis of data is to reserve a line in the worksheet for each sample unit, which can be, for example, a patient, individual or animal.

Dependent variables occupy columns

The dependent variables are the measures, which are conditioned to the grouping, are placed in the columns.

If you want to measure the weight and height of a group of patients, for example, the ideal thing is to create a table with three columns: one for identification, another for weight and the third for age.

Definition of variables

The first line is occupied by the research variables, that is, what you want to measure. In the example below we have the subgroups:

Patient Sex Age length of stay

Completion of information

Fill in the columns with information related to the variable indicated in the row. In the example we are using, each line corresponds to a patient observed during the search and the information is distributed in the columns.

Patient Sex Age length of stay
José M 30 15 days
Maria Paula F 42 9 days
Matheus M 26 5 days
julia F 65 32 days
enrico M 83 200 days
Miguel M 78 106 days
Geralda F 60 90 days

Each variable type has a tabular form

Nominal Qualitative Variable

there is no numerical order to follow, so tabulation can be done with words or letters.

Ordinal qualitative variable

Characteristics or attributes that follow an order, therefore, are turned into numbers so that statistical software can process the data.

Consider a survey that checked patients’ pain level. For this, the variables were transformed into scores that follow an increasing order.

  • No pain: 0
  • Mild pain: 1
  • Moderate pain: 2
  • A lot of pain: 3
  • Deep pain: 4

Quantitative variable

Information is collected and expressed in numbers in the table. Examples: age, weight, cholesterol. In this regard, remember to separate the fractional values ​​by a comma and not by a period.


When using software to tabulate data, standardization is a fundamental criterion for generating reliable analyses. If you mark the female gender as F in a given line, for example, you must follow this pattern throughout the worksheet. If you use “FEM” at some point, the system will interpret it as a new category.

lack of data

When you don’t get information about a certain search item, the recommendation is to leave the worksheet cell blank. Do not enter a hyphen or any other character.

Data review

After finalizing the tabulation of all the information collected, it is recommended to review it to assess whether all the data has been filled in correctly, that is, according to a standard.

technology facilities

Technology has undoubtedly facilitated the tabulation of research data. You can, for example, generate an online questionnaire in Google Forms and then export the results in an electronic spreadsheet, which can be opened in Excel.

Google Forms makes the student’s life easier because it automatically generates graphs, which can be downloaded and added to the course completion work.

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