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Figures & tables

Figures (diagrams, graphs, maps and photographs) and tables (representations of numerical data in a grid format) should be used to enhance what you write, not repeat it or stand separate from it. Detailed results, statistical analysis, transcripts and more detailed diagrams should go in the appendices.

Different types of figures and tables fulfil different functions. You should always choose the most appropriate type of illustration for your purpose.

Line graphs and histograms are useful for depicting trends

line graph

Figure 1: Daily sales results over 1 year

Photos to provide evidence (e.g. pollution)

  Water pollution

Figure 3: Polluted storm water

Bar graphs are effective when making comparisons

bar graph

Figure 2.6: Comparison of cohorts

Pie graph shows sub-categories in relation to the whole

pie graph
Figure 4:  Quarterly investment returns

Tables are good for summarising and presenting numerical data

Table 1: Distribution of results

Example of a data table

Diagrams can present complex information visually

The sewage enters the inlet, filters through drainage and humus layers and filters out high quality effluent ready for sub-surface drip irrigation

Figure 5.4: Sewerage filtration system
(From: Biolytix Technologies Pty Ltd, 2005)

Figure 3 reference: Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 2006, Pollution, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, viewed 31 July 2006,, Wikipedia, 2006


Inserting & labelling figures & tables



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