Tabled: Is R the Solution?

June 5, 2010

Sometimes, in this world of magical analytics and open source software, the most basic stuff doesn’t get done. Today, we’ll talk about Tables. Yes, the simple process of making a nice looking table for a presentation is still a manual process of pasting into Excel and manually fiddling. When I can cluster gigs of data but I can’t get a good looking table of the results, something seems wrong.

Why is this so hard? Well, easy tables are easy but it can get more complex than you think.

1) Univariate or Bivariate

You can think of these as the classic list or the “2×2” crosstabs we see. These are very popular in that they are easy to create, pretty easy to understand, and have been presented in every Stats 101 class. The most common thing to see inside these tables are counts, but you could also have means of some measures, %age of row/col/table, running total, etc. Your table could be made of 2 Independent Variables, or 1 IV and 1 Dependent Variable. The stats for 2×2 tables are very well known; almost everyone can rattle off “Chi-Square Expected and Observed” though there are others that are used as well.

This can also be extended to more than 2×2: you