Nesting Categorical Variables within Scale Variables

Although the above table may provide the information you want, it may not provide it in the easiest format to interpret. For example, you can compare the average age of men who use the Internet to get news and those who don't--but it would be easier to do if the values were next to each other rather than separated. Swapping the positions of the two row variables and nesting the categorical grouping variable within the three scale variables might improve the table. With scale variables, nesting level has no effect on the statistics source variable. The scale variable is always the statistics source variable regardless of nesting level.

  1. Open the table builder (Analyze menu, Tables, Custom Tables).
  2. Click Age of respondent in the table preview on the canvas pane, Ctrl-click Highest year of school completed, and Ctrl-click Hours per day watching TV to select all three scale variables.
  3. Drag and drop the three scale variables onto the far left side of the Rows area, nesting the categorical variable Get news from internet within each of the three scale variables.
  4. Click OK to create the table.
Figure 1. Categorical row variable nested within stacked scale variables
Categorical row variable nested within stacked scale variables

The choice of nesting order depends on the relationships or comparisons that you want to emphasize in the table. Changing the nesting order of the scale variables doesn't change the summary statistics values; it changes only their relative positions in the table.