4

I have a table that compares the performance of different systems according to different error measures:

System   | Error 1 | change | Error 2 | ...
--------------------------------------| ...
Baseline | 0.6     | -      | ...
A        | 0.1     | -0.5   | ...
B        | 0.3     | -0.3   | ...
C        | 0.7     |  0.1   | ...
D        | 0.6     |  0.0   | ...

I currently chose - to denote that the value does not make sense. Of course, I can subtract the error of the baseline system from itself and get 0. But I don't think that makes sense.

Should I put - in that cell? Or -- or --- (I write the document with LaTeX) or eventually something different like N/A? Or make the cell black?

4
  • 5
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about visualizing information and table formatting, not specific to academia. Oct 29, 2014 at 14:51
  • 3
    @StephanKolassa but many academic fields have very specific style guides that aren't necessarily about the best way to visualize things.
    – StrongBad
    Oct 29, 2014 at 14:53
  • Related to: How to display a division by zero in a grid? Oct 29, 2014 at 17:11
  • Questions about formatting of statistics are off-topic on Academia.SE.
    – WBT
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:08

2 Answers 2

6

If it is self-evident (remember to look at your table from the perspective of a reader) I would just leave the cell empty. Less clutter is better. When not, I would tend towards --. More importantly I would add a footnote to the table explaining what -- means. I think the footnote is in that case more important than the difference between -, --, and ---.

0
5

I cannot find any mention of what to do with missing data in the APA style, MLA style, or Chicago style, but according to this website on AMA style says:

Missing data and blank space in the table field (ie, and empty cell) may create ambiguity and should be avoided . . . . An ellipsis (. . .) may be used to indicate no data are available [or applicable]. (p87)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .