Crosstabulations (Tables, Multi-way Tables)

A crosstabulation table is a combination of two (or more) frequency tables arranged such that each cell in the resulting table represents a unique combination of specific values of crosstabulated variables. Thus, crosstabulation allows us to examine frequencies of observations that belong to specific combinations of categories on more than one variable. For example, the following simple ("two-way") table shows how many adults vs. children selected "cookie A" vs. "cookie B" in a taste preference test:

 

COOKIE: A

COOKIE: B

 

AGE: ADULT

50

0

50

AGE: CHILD

0

50

50

 

50

50

100

By examining these frequencies, we can identify relations between crosstabulated variables (e.g., children clearly prefer "cookie B"). Only categorical (nominal) variables or variables with a relatively small number of different meaningful values should be crosstabulated. Note that in the cases where we do want to include a continuous variable in a crosstabulation (e.g., income), we can first recode it into a particular number of distinct ranges (e.g., low, medium, high).

For more information, see the Crosstabulations Introductory Overview.