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Back to Basics: Anatomy of a Crosstab (April 2011)

Are you new to market research or do you need a refresher course in basic survey tabulation principles? The following guide will help you better understand how to read and interpret the results of your survey project.

A crosstabulation (or "crosstab") is a table displaying survey results. It resembles a spreadsheet with multiple rows and columns, typically where the rows are tabulated survey responses and the columns are subgroups for analysis. Survey data can be analyzed in a variety of ways, but basic crosstabs remain a powerful tool in exploring your data. The best way to describe a crosstab and its components is by looking at an example. Move your cursor to any areas within the below table to display descriptions of each table element.


Having a solid understanding of the basic elements of a crosstab will promote better communication with your tabulation partner and help you to get the most from your survey data. There are many options not described here which are also available when analyzing survey results. The next StarTips article will help round out some of the more advanced concepts of survey tabulation and develop specifications (a "tab plan") for your data analysis.