Everyday maths for Health and Social Care and Education Support 1

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1 Collecting data

In the introduction we mentioned the different ways you can display information – for example, in tables, diagrams, charts or graphs. Before you can create any of these, however, you need to collect the information to put in them.

One way of collecting information is through a survey. Have you ever been stopped in the street by someone doing a survey, or filled one in online?

You’ll often see surveys by YouGov [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , which is one example of a market research and data company, referred to on TV news programmes or in newspapers. YouGov commissions surveys on various topics, including the following (which you may want to open in a new window or tab):

A survey is a method of collecting data. But once you’ve collected the data, it needs to be organised and displayed in a way that’s easy to understand.

This is something that’s straightforward to do with discrete data – that is, data made up of things that are separate and can be counted. For example:

• the number of people needing treatment in A&E on a Saturday night
• the number of ambulance call outs each week
• the number of babies born in a hospital each day.

A tally chart is a useful way of collecting information. A tally chart consists of a series of tallies. It works like this:

• For each thing, or unit, that you count – each person in A&E, each ambulance called out, each baby born, or whatever – you make a tally mark like this:

• When you count up to five units, you ‘cross out’ the other four tally marks like this:

• You then continue to count units in groups of fives, as follows:

= 4

= 5

= 6

= 10

Note: You might have heard of something called a tally table. Tally charts and tally tables are the same thing.

Now try the following activity. Remember to check your answers once you have completed the questions.

Activity 1: Rewriting numbers as tallies

Write the following numbers in tally form:

1. 3
2. 7
3. 9
4. 14
5. 18

Example: Using a tally chart

You can use tally charts to record data when you carry out surveys and collect data.

Have you ever seen people at the side of a road doing a traffic survey? They could be recording the number of people in each car, and at the end of the survey they could add up the tallies and record the totals. Their tally chart would look something like this:

Number of people in carNumber of carsTotal
14
23
31
42
5+1

So why use tally charts? It’s because they’re a quick and simple way of recording data.

Now try the following activities. Remember to check your answers once you have completed the questions.

Hint: Tick or cross off each entry as you put it into your tally chart. This will help you stop losing your place.

Activity 2: Creating a tally chart

Twenty people were asked in a survey how many people times they had visited their GP in the past year. These were the answers:

 2 3 1 4 3 2 3 2 1 2 1 3 4 2 2 3 1 3 2 2

Use the information in the table above to create your own tally chart of how often people visit their GP. Your tally chart should be arranged as follows:

Number of GP appointments last yearNumber of responses

Number of GP appointments last yearNumber of responses
1
2
3
4

Activity 3: Creating a tally chart

The following information is a record of the colours of cars in a hospital car park one lunchtime:

 red yellow red blue white blue black white red green red white green black blue white blue red red black

Draw a tally chart to present the data.

Your table should look like this:

Number of cars with certain colours in a hospital car park one lunchtime

Colour of carNumber of carsTotal
Black3
Blue4
Green2
Red6
White4
Yellow1

Summary

In this section you have learned about how tally charts are used.

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