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Frequency & Relative Frequency Tables: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 Frequency & Relative…
  • 1:10 Creating Frequency…
  • 2:42 Creating Frequency…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

Frequency and relative frequency tables are a good way to visualize information. This is especially useful for information that is grouped into categories where you are looking for popularity or mode.

Frequency & Relative Frequency Tables

Steven and Renee are a husband and wife couple that just started a local restaurant business. They want to have a signature steak to serve on the weekends. They asked twenty of their friends to taste test five different types of steaks to see which steak they should serve. Four people choose steak number one, five people choose steak number two, two people choose steak number three, six people choose steak number four, and three people choose steak number five. Steven and Renee can use frequency and relative frequency tables to analyze and visualize their choices.

A frequency table is a chart that shows the popularity or mode of a certain type of data. When we look at a frequency, we are looking at the number of times an event occurs within a given scenario. A relative frequency table is a chart that shows the popularity or mode of a certain type of data based on the population sampled. When we look at relative frequency, we are looking at the number of times a specific event occurs compared to the total number of events.

Creating Frequency Tables: Example 1

The data set for the steak tasting is as follows, where each number represents the steak that was chosen as the best:

1, 5, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 4, 2, 4, 4, 5, 1, 4, 2, 4, 2, 2

We can use our data to create a frequency table like this.


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Notice that the first column indicates the type of steak. The second column shows a tally mark indicating the number of people who chose each steak. The third column indicates the frequency with which each steak was chosen. The tally mark and the frequency number should always match.

To create a relative frequency table, we need to do some dividing. A relative frequency table shows the number of people that chose each steak compared to the number of people that did the tasting. Take a look at this new chart.


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To find the relative frequency for each steak choice, we need to take the frequency for each choice and divide that number by 20. We are dividing by 20 here because there was a total number of 20 people who tasted the steaks. The number in the third column is the relative frequency number. You can actually take this number and convert it into a pie chart like this.


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Since we are looking at all of the people that tasted the steaks, that is 100% of the tasters. The relative frequency number can be converted into a percentage to show the percentage of people that chose each type of steak.

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