• data reduction;
  • tessellation methods;
  • clustering techniques;
  • orientation space;
  • crystallite orientation distribution function

Experimental techniques [e.g. electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD)] yield detailed crystallographic information on the grain scale. In both two- and three-dimensional applications of EBSD, large data sets in the range of 105–109 single-crystal orientations are obtained. With regard to the precise but efficient micromechanical computation of the polycrystalline material response, small representative sets of crystallographic orientation data are required. This paper describes two methods to systematically reduce experimentally measured orientation data. Inspired by the work of Gao, Przybyla & Adams [Metall. Mater. Trans. A (2006), 37, 2379–2387], who used a tessellation of the orientation space in order to compute correlation functions, one method in this work uses a similar procedure to partition the orientation space into boxes, but with the aim of extracting the mean orientation of the data points of each box. The second method to reduce crystallographic texture data is based on a clustering technique. It is shown that, in terms of representativity of the reduced data, both methods deliver equally good results. While the clustering technique is computationally more costly, it works particularly well when the measured data set shows pronounced clusters in the orientation space. The quality of the results and the performance of the tessellation method are independent of the examined data set.