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What is a Frequency Distribution?

A frequency table shows the distribution of observations based on the options in a variable. Frequency tables are helpful to understand which options occur more or less often in the dataset. This is helpful for getting a better understanding of each variable and deciding if variables need to be recoded or not. There is no formula for a frequency table since it reports the count of each option in a variable.

Below is the code for the frequency distribution for the variable language in the SLID dataset. 




In the code above we are creating the table for the variable language in the SLID dataset.



English  French   Other 
   5716     497    1091 


The output chart shows us the frequency distribution of the variable language.

Each column in the chart is an option that respondents could have selected during data collection. We can see the options English, French, and Other. RStudio always presents options that are coded from the smallest number the to greatest from left to right, so we know that English is coded with a numerical value of 1, French is coded as 2, and Other is 3, which is helpful when recoding. 

We can see in the second row that most, 5,716 observations, selected English as their language. The least commonly reported option is French with 497 observations and 1,091 observations selecting Other. RStudio does not provide percentages and cumulative percentages as default.