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Reproducible and Efficient Creation of ‘Table 1’ Summary Tables for Research Papers

Simple Creation of Summary Statistics for Research Papers

Generating summary statistics is a common task in research and often requires iterative refinements. In this post we will demonstrate how to conveniently generate a Table 1 used for research papers in an automated fashion. We will be using public data from a clinical trial by Vickers et al. (2004) which was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on the use of acupuncture as a therapy for chronic headache. The PDF is available for download for free at the BMJ website (link).

As is customary, the authors provide a Table 1 featuring baseline characteristics of the treatment and control groups.

Figure 1: Table 1 showing the baseline characteristics of a 2004 clinical trial by Vickers et al. which we will use as an example for this tutorial

Figure 1: Table 1 showing the baseline characteristics of a 2004 clinical trial by Vickers et al. which we will use as an example for this tutorial

A copy of the raw trial data is available here (link) on the Springer website (Excel File Format).

Using this data set we will walk through the steps on how to create a Table 1 automatically, by making use of www.table1.cc.

Let's get started!

1. Download the sample trial data

2. Select the data of interest

Figure 2. Selecting all rows (cases) who completed the 2004 clinical trial

Figure 2. Selecting all rows (cases) who completed the 2004 clinical trial

3. Go to table1.cc and paste the content of the clipboard

Figure 3. How to paste spreadsheet data into table1.cc

Figure 3. How to paste spreadsheet data into table1.cc

4. Select variables of interest and variable types

Figure 4. Selecting variables of interest and variable types

Figure 4. Selecting variables of interest and variable types

5. Select the grouping variable and confirm to create the table

Figure 5. Selecting variables of interest and variable types for your table 1

Figure 5. Selecting variables of interest and variable types for your table 1

6. Adjust and Fine tune formatting

The caveat of the authors of the tableone Python package always applies:

We encourage the use of tableone alongside other methods of descriptive statistics and, in particular, visualization to ensure appropriate data handling. […] Guidance should be sought from a statistician when using tableone for a research study, especially prior to submitting the study for publication.

Try out simple and efficient creation of your Table 1 by applying this tutorial at https://www.table1.cc !

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