Comparative Table Definition and Meaning
A table can be a graph that specifies the links between different data. Comparative, meanwhile, is what allows a comparison (the discovery of similarities and differences between various elements from their analysis or observation).
A comparison chart, therefore, is a graphical tool used for comparison. The elements that are compared are placed in columns and then, in different rows, the data in question is mentioned.
The comparative tables are used to organize the information, facilitating the identification of similar and different characteristics in the concepts. That is why they are useful for the acquisition of knowledge and for memorizing content.
Different data are listed in a comparative table.
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Comparison Chart Examples
Suppose a student is to take a social studies exam that will revolve around North American countries. While studying, she decides to create a comparison chart.
In the columns, put the names of the countries: MEXICO, UNITED STATES and CANADA. Under the column corresponding to each nation, start writing different data, one per row to allow comparison:
Capital: MEXICO CITY / WASHINGTON DC / OTTAWA
Area: 1,964,375 KM2 / 9,371,174 KM2 / 9,984,670 KM2
System of government: FEDERAL REPUBLIC / FEDERAL REPUBLIC / FEDERAL PARLIAMENTARY MONARCHY
A young woman who is planning her vacation, for her part, can develop a comparative table to define which hotel is the most convenient for her:
HOTEL LIBERTADOR / HOTEL ARENAS GOLDEN
4 STARS / 3 STARS
INCLUDES BREAKFAST / INCLUDES BREAKFAST AND DINNER
HAS A POOL / DOES NOT HAVE A POOL
Comparison charts help make comparisons.
It is important to highlight that the comparative table is not only used to contrast data groups, but also phenomena, and that the information is only obtained once the comparison has been made. For example, in a social experiment, twenty people of all ages are given a prompt that gives rise to two opposing tendencies, and then the reaction of each is observed. At the end, the result is entered in the table, where two quite marked age groups are evidenced according to their behaviors: the age of each participant is a datum, while the conclusion to which the study leads is the information.
The data obtained through the use of a comparison chart can be qualitative or quantitative in nature, depending on the case, and it is an ideal tool for examining two or more objects visually. It is typically used in research to evaluate various models, rule out less viable ones, and provide a relatively detailed picture of the possibilities.
Usefulness of a comparison chart
It is very useful for making important decisions, which depend on a careful analysis of the available resources, since they allow all the alternatives to be observed objectively and in depth. As common as it is today, the comparison chart emerged in the early 19th century. Already in the year 1785, however, a map was drawn up in which the dimensions of the European countries of the time were compared.
The first formal examples of comparative charts began to appear in the early 1800s. Charles Smith and John Thomson published comparative charts listing the heights of various mountains and elevations around the world. Tables focused on the comparison of rivers, monuments, planets and animals were also common, taking different data as a reference, which could be length, height and size, among others.
As can be seen, one of the benefits of comparative charts is that they allow us to organize the information and, therefore, achieve a degree of organization that opens the door to better decisions. They are currently present on various Internet pages; in electronic commerce, to cite one case, they help users to clearly detect the differences between a group of products in order to choose the one that best suits their needs.