Summary Measures for Categorical Data

For categorical data, the most typical summary measure is the number or percentage of cases in each category. The mode is the category with the greatest number of cases. For ordinal data, the median (the value at which half of the cases fall above and below) may also be a useful summary measure if there is a large number of categories.

The Frequencies procedure produces frequency tables that display both the number and percentage of cases for each observed value of a variable.

  1. From the menus choose:

    Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Frequencies...

    Note: This feature requires the Statistics Base option.

  2. Select Owns PDA [ownpda] and Owns TV [owntv] and move them into the Variable(s) list.
    Figure 1. Categorical variables selected for analysis
    Categorical variables selected for analysis in the Frequencies dialog box
  3. Click OK to run the procedure.
Figure 2. Frequency tables
Frequencies tables shown in Viewer

The frequency tables are displayed in the Viewer window. The frequency tables reveal that only 20.4% of the people own PDAs, but almost everybody owns a TV (99.0%). These might not be interesting revelations, although it might be interesting to find out more about the small group of people who do not own televisions.