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Diagrams, charts and graphs
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2 Tables and charts

2.1 Tables

Experiments or surveys usually generate a lot of information from which it is possible to draw conclusions. Such information is called data. Data are often presented in newspapers or books.

One convenient way to present data is in a table. For instance, the nutrition panel on the back of a food packet:

Nutrition Information
Nutrient Per 100gPer 400g
of which sugars2.0g8.0g
of which saturates1.1g4.4g

Scientific experiments often require a series of measurements taken at regular intervals. Information can be recorded as it is collected. For example, the table below resulted from an experiment to determine how quickly a cup of tea cooled down.


Tables can be laid out vertically (as in the nutrition panel) or horizontally (as in the tea experiment). Each column or row heading should indicate what is being measured and the unit of measurement. (Columns are vertical; rows are horizontal.)

A table is not merely a convenient way of presenting data. It can often facilitate comparisons and can lead to conclusions that would have been difficult to deduce from the separate data, as the next example shows.

Example 3

League Table for 1977/1978 First Division
PositionTeamGames playedGames wonGames drawnGames lostGoals forGoals againstGames wonGames drawnGames lostGoals forGoals againstGoal differencePoints
1Nottingham Forest421560378108332164564
4Manchester City421443462168728302352
6West Bromwich Albion42135335185972735950
7Coventry City421353482357927391348
8Aston Villa421146331876824241546
9Leeds United421245392166924321046
10Manchester United42966322374103540442
11Birmingham City4285832308492330−541
12Derby County421074372446111735−541
13Norwich City4210832820110102446−1440
15Wolverhampton Wanderers42786302754122137−1336
17Bristol City42966372627121227−435
18Ipswich Town421056322418121537−1435
19Queens Park Rangers42885272617132038−1733
20West Ham United42867312842152141−1732
21Newcastle United424611263724151641−3622
22Leicester City424710163215151038−4422
Total goals741490490741
(Copyright © East Midlands Football (adapted)) ©
Copyright © East Midlands Football (adapted)
  • (a) How many goals did Liverpool score at home and how many did they score away?

  • (b) Which team scored the most goals away from their home ground?

  • (c) Which was the worst team defensively away from their home gound, i.e. the team with the highest number of goals scored against them when playing away?

  • (d) Suggest reasons for the discrepancy between the total number of goals scored at home and the total number of goals scored away.


  • (a) Home – 37, Away – 28.

  • (b) Manchester United scored the most goals away from their home ground, 35.

  • (c) Chelsea let in 49 goals when away from their home ground.

  • (d) Possible reasons for the discrepancy could include: familiarity with the pitch, travel discomfort.

It is important to appreciate that, although you can state factual conclusions, you can often only suggest reasons. In many cases, interpretation of data depends on your own experience or on some other information not included in the table.

Example 4

Use the table below to answer the following questions:

  • (a) What is the Body Mass Index (BMI) of a person who is 5’7” and who weighs 170 lbs?

  • (b) What category are they in?

  • (c) How much weight does a person who is 6’0” tall and who currently weighs 250 lbs have to lose in order to be in the low risk category?

Body Mass Index (BMI)


  • (a) 27.

  • (b) They are overweight.

  • (c) You cannot answer this question exactly using the table given. You can see from the table that a person who is 6’0” tall, weighing 190 lbs has a BMI of 26 and is low risk. So losing 60 lbs is sufficient. You also know that a weight of 200 lbs is too much to be classified as low risk, so losing 50 lbs is not sufficient. The table does not allow you to answer this question more accurately.