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Introduction to Tables

Remember the periodic table from science class? The periodic table is probably the most widely recognized scientific chart. It arranges elements according to atomic weight and the number of electrons in the outer shell. This same data could be presented in a list or written description. However, scientists have found the periodic table to be an easy, effective reference tool.

In general, tables organize data in columns and rows. When reading a table, review the following features:

  • Title: The title should reveal the table’s topic and/or purpose.
  • Columns: Each vertical section of a table is called a column. The heading tells you what information is located in each column.
  • Rows: Each horizontal section of a table is a row. A label on the left side of a row indicates what information is found in the row.

Locating Information in a Table

Specific data are found where columns and rows meet. To locate a specific data point, use the column and row headings. Find the column and row that correspond to the data you need. Move down the column and across the row until you locate the intersection.