Answers to Webinar Questions

Shiggy’s Questions Shiggyさんの質問

With cross tabulation data, how to show it effectively?


Four steps are:

  1. Ask the cross tabulation package not to show decimal places.
  2. For many types of questions, sort the data from highest to lowest (or lowest to highest). But do not sort scales such as Agree Strongly to Disagree Strongly.
  3. Create tables that show the information in percentages only (not counts and percentages). Two values (count and percentages) for every cell is less visual.
  4. Create ‘Net’ values, for example combining Agree Strongly with Agree to make a Net Agree number. You will see interesting patterns faster when looking at Net Agree and Net Disagree.


Mr Takahashi’s Question 高橋さんの質問

When is showing the data in index form useful?


Index is useful when showing changes over time. This is why finance data, like the Nikkei, uses index values. In particular, indexing a set of value lets you see which brands or items are growing the fastest or slowest over time.


Tomoko-san’s Question 1 ともこさんの質問

How do we choose the best options for tables and charts?
When choosing the right approach to tables and charts there are two situations.


  1. When we are using tables and charts to find the story in the data.
  2. When we are using tables and charts to present the story to a client.

When finding the data we should work to our own strengths. If you are a numbers person you will use more tables. If you are a visual person you will use more charts. The key things about whichever techniques you user are a) it should be quick and easy, so you can explore more things, and b) the package you are using should link to the data, so the changes you make are linked to the underlying information.
When you are presenting the story you need to work to your client’s strengths, are they a numbers person or a visual person? What type of charts do they prefer – so research your client. In terms of the presentation, the tables and charts do not need to be so quick to produce, you can spend time to get them right, because you have already found the story.


Tomoko-san’s Question 2

Can you give us examples of bad practice with tables and charts?


Anything which is not honest is bad practice. It is not always important to be accurate, but it is always important to tell the truth. Quite often you see a map of the USA colored in Red and Blue to show the distribution of support for Republicans and Democrats. But this is not an honest picture because many of the large states have very few people living in them. So, if 50% of the people vote Republican and 50% vote Republican, a map colored at state level often makes it look as though 90% of the country voted Republican.