Using PairedTable as a comparison tool

Updated at July 22nd, 2020

Protobi's primary bar chart is designed to compare subsets of respondents, but sometimes you need to compare respondents to themselves. Consider the following:

  • are they more likely to choose this answer than other answers
  • are they more likely to answer yes to this answer than other questions

Then again, maybe you just want to align a grid of questions neatly in a table.

Using a PairedTable

A PairedTable allows you to neatly display collections of questions together, and run pairwise comparisons for stronger statistical tests.

Below is an example from Pew Research's Gender and Generations survey. Each respondent rated how similar they perceive different groups:

In the example above, 28% of respondents report strong conflicts between "Young people and older people." 57% of respondents report strong conflicts between "Poor people and rich people."

The difference in responses seems sizable, but is it statistically significant? That's where PairedTables can be useful. 

Paired table

Below is the same data organized as a paired table.  The data organized with each child as a column and each value as a row. 

PairedTables: statistics

PairedTable uses a paired difference t-test to compare means, and McNemar's test (with small sample corrections) to compare percentages. 

In a PairedTable, each column is compared with each other individual column. Blue column labels highlight statistically significant difference between questions.

Cells show counts/frequencies for all respondents, but each statistical test to compare whether differences between two questions are significant considers only respondents who answered both questions.

Turn statistics on/off

You can turn pairwise testing off in "Additional options", press the green checkmark to deselect "testPairwiseSignificance". A blue x indicates an option has been deselected.

Create a paired table

To create a paired table, press the blue square edit icon and select "Chart type," select "paired":


Alternatively, press the blue square edit icon and select "Edit JSON..." and in the JSON, specify a chartType attribute:

        "chartType": "PairedTable"

Transpose a PairedTable

The default is to show each variable as a column and each response value as a row. This makes the view look more like a traditional crosstab.

However, if you have many variables and fewer response options you can transpose the table by choosing swap under "Chart options" in the chart dialogue.

This will yield a transposed table with one row per question and one column per response option.

Here, the statistical comparisons are between rows rather than columns:


PairedTable is only applicable to a group of questions with a common format attribute or groups with identical number of children.

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