Starting with Counts and Making the Collection

Posted on May 27, 2012


In an earlier post, we talked about how to do statistical tests and estimates using summary statistics.

But sometimes you start with a one- or two-way table of counts, and you want the actual collection of data. Here’s one way to get it. It’s a workaround, but it’s reasonably quick:

  1. Figure out how many different cases you need. It’s usually the number of cells in the table. For example, suppose you want to reproduce the data in the table shown. There are 12 different cases—just different numbers of each one.
  2. Pick the first type of case. You’d make two columns, Sex and Marital, and one case: Male, MarriedP.
  3. Make a summary table and put both attributes on it. You’ll only see one case, but that will change.
  4. Select the single case and Copy it.
  5. Paste it, repeatedly, until you have 10 of them.
  6. Select all ten. Copy them.
  7. Paste until you have 110. Of course, you’re watching the summary table from step 3 in order to tell if you’re done.
  8. Make the next case: Female, MarriedP.
  9. Repeat steps 4–7 until you have 114. (At the end, when you have 110, you’ll need to copy and paste 4 more.)
  10. Do the same for the other types of case.

I recently used this to make a “population” from which we polled. Every student got an identical population of 10,000 voters, and did sampling to make polls of various numbers of voters. Note that Fathom won’t copy more than 5,000 cases at a time.

Posted in: How-to, work-arounds