Using Tables and Figures for Research

Using Tables and Figures for Research

Using Tables and Figures for Research

Tables and figures must be clear and simple to understand, and that they help your reader in following your presentation. Figures are graphs, diagrams or illustrations/images while tables are data presented in tabular form.


Essential considerations when using figures and tables

1 Figures and tables are not a substitute for your text. They ought to complement your writing, include evidence to make your argument stronger, assist your reader to comprehend intricate ideas or complex figures. Always ask yourself why you are including a specific figure. If it’s merely to cushion your writing out or make it look attractive, then do not include it; your figure or table ought to at all times serve a purpose.


2 Your figures ought to be an essential part of your writing; don’t just throw one or two in at random. Your text ought to constantly make reference to the figures or tables that you’ve incorporated, with illustrations and comments on the data or illustrations provided.


3 Every figure and table ought to be given a title and be successively numbered, and these would usually be listed disjointedly in your assignment, dissertation or thesis commonly at the beginning. Within your writing, table ought to always be written out in full, but Figure can be written Fig, Fig. or Figure; never use ‘the’ before the words, and at all times make us of real numbers. In a longer piece of work, these numbers ought to correspond to the chapter numbers for example (Fig 4.5; Table 6.1 and so on)


4 If the figure has been extracted from one of your sources, you ought make a reference to that source. The best way to do this is as you would do with any other acknowledgement; a short reference (surname, year of publication and page number as it’s from a particular page inside your text, after the title of the figure/table, and then the full reference at the end as section of your major list of references. You may occasionally view the full reference given with the figure/table.


5 The number and title ought to constantly follow the figure or table in your writing. Normally, this is put under a figure (frequently in italics), and above a table (normally not in italics). You don’t have to worry too much regarding this, but ensure that you are steady.


6 Make sure that any data you present in this form is clear and easily understood. If you have to make use of colour or shading, ensure that it does not obscure the text, but it is suggested that you do not use colour. Also ensure that the categories, scales, groups and so on that you are presenting are clearly labeled on the suitable axis of the graph or table column.


Referring to tables and figures in your text

You must constantly make reference in your text to a table or figure that you have included. You ought to do this with impersonal language. For instance:


Fig 4.1 shows an example of the type of people who lived in the late 19th
Century. This is a good illustration of …


As illustrated in Table 2.2, although the incidences of child related crime has increased in the country, they are still low in comparison most countries of the developed world. Literacy rates have as well increased severely (see Fig 1.3).


Try to include your figure or table as close as possible to the text to which it relates, but without dividing it across two pages. Do not use expressions such like as shown in the table below or the table above shows, or put the page the figure appears on; just use the number, as in the examples we gave here.


Nearly Everything You Wanted to Know About Making Tables and Figures

Once your statistical examinations are complete, you will be required to summarize the data and results for presentation to your readers. Data summaries may be done in three ways: text, Tables and Figures.


Text: Unlike what you may have heard, not all analyses or results require a Table or Figure.  A few simple results are best stated in a single sentence, with data sum up parenthetically:


Seed production was higher for plants in the full-sun treatment (52.3 +/-6.8 seeds) than for those receiving filtered light (14.7+/- 3.2 seeds)


Tables: Tables show lists of numbers or text in columns, each column have a title or label. Do not use a table when you wish to illustrate a trend or a pattern of relationship between sets of values – these are better illustrated in a Figure. For example, if you are required to show population sizes and sex ratios for your study organism at many sites, and you intended to focus on the variations among individual sites according to (say) habitat type, you would make use of a table. Nevertheless, if you wanted to illustrate that sex ratio was connected to population size, you would use a Figure.


Figures: Figures are visual presentations of results, which includes graphs, diagrams, photos, drawings, schematics, maps, etc. Graphs are the most common type of figure and will be explained in detail; examples of other types of figures that are included at the conclusion of this section. Graphs illustrate trends or patterns of relationship.


Arranging your presentation:

Once you have connected your analyses and determined how best to present each one, think about how to organize them . Your analyses ought to state what leads the reader through the steps required to sensibly answer the question(s) you presented in your introduction. The order in which you show your results can be as crucial in convincing your readers as what you in reality mention in the text.


How to make reference to Tables and Figures from the text:

Every Figure and Table included in the paper MUST be made reference to in the text. Make use of sentences that elicits the reader’s attention to the relationship or trend you intend to highlight, make reference to the appropriate Figure or Table only in parenthesis. For an example:


Growth rates were extensively higher after 24 h in running water than in controls (Fig. 4).


DNA sequence homologies for the purple gene from the four congeners (Table 1) illustrate high similarity, varying by at most 4 base pairs.


Avoid sentences that offer no information apart from directing the reader to the Figure or Table:

Table 1 illustrates the summary results for male and female heights at Bates College.


Abbreviation of the word “Figure”:

When making reference to a Figure in the text, the word “Figure” is abridged as “Fig.”, while “Table” is not abbreviated. Both words are spelled out entirely in descriptive traditions.


Numbering Tables and Figures:

Figures and Tables are numbered separately, in the sequence in which you make reference to them in the text, beginning from Figure 1 and Table 1. If, in revision, you alter the presentation sequence of the figures and tables, you must renumber them to show the new sequence.


Placement of Figures and Tables within the Paper:

In manuscripts (like lab papers, drafts), Tables and Figures are normally put on different pages from text material. For the sake of your readers, place each Table or Figure as close as possible to the place where you first refer to it (for instance, the next page). It is allowed to put every descriptive material at the end of the Results section in order to avoid interrupting the flow of text. The Figures and Tables may be inserted in the text, but avoid dividing the text into small portions; it is better to have entire pages of text with Figures and Tables on their own pages.

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