Concept

# Contingency table

Summary
In statistics, a contingency table (also known as a cross tabulation or crosstab) is a type of table in a matrix format that displays the (multivariate) frequency distribution of the variables. They are heavily used in survey research, business intelligence, engineering, and scientific research. They provide a basic picture of the interrelation between two variables and can help find interactions between them. The term contingency table was first used by Karl Pearson in "On the Theory of Contingency and Its Relation to Association and Normal Correlation", part of the Drapers' Company Research Memoirs Biometric Series I published in 1904. A crucial problem of multivariate statistics is finding the (direct-)dependence structure underlying the variables contained in high-dimensional contingency tables. If some of the conditional independences are revealed, then even the storage of the data can be done in a smarter way (see Lauritzen (2002)). In order to do this one can use information theory concepts, which gain the information only from the distribution of probability, which can be expressed easily from the contingency table by the relative frequencies. A pivot table is a way to create contingency tables using spreadsheet software. Suppose there are two variables, sex (male or female) and handedness (right- or left-handed). Further suppose that 100 individuals are randomly sampled from a very large population as part of a study of sex differences in handedness. A contingency table can be created to display the numbers of individuals who are male right-handed and left-handed, female right-handed and left-handed. Such a contingency table is shown below. The numbers of the males, females, and right- and left-handed individuals are called marginal totals. The grand total (the total number of individuals represented in the contingency table) is the number in the bottom right corner. The table allows users to see at a glance that the proportion of men who are right-handed is about the same as the proportion of women who are right-handed although the proportions are not identical.