Presenting data analysis in a manuscript

One of the most difficult aspects of research manuscript preparation is deciding whether your findings should be presented through tables, figures, or text. The tips listed below will help you make a more informed decision:

Use a table to

  • Show many and precise numerical values in a small space
  • Compare/contrast values or characteristics of items that are related or that share several characteristics or variables
  • Show the presence or absence of specific characteristics

Use a figure to

  • Show trends, patterns, and relationships across and between data sets, when the trend is more important than the precise data values
  • Summarize the results of your research
  • Visually explain a sequence of events, phenomena, characteristics, or geographical features

Use text when

  • The data you intend to present is not relevant to the main findings of your study
  • The data is not too complex or large, and can be easily incorporated in your manuscript
  • Your data, if presented as a table, would warrant only 1 or 2 columns

Additional Guidelines

Guidelines for submitting figures/images

  • Make sure you use uniform lettering and sizing of your original artwork.
  • Number the illustrations according to their sequence in the text.
  • Tables and figures should be placed at the end of the manuscript, with placement instructions between paragraphs within the body text to indicate where these items would go (e.g., "Insert Table 1 Here).

Guidelines for figures/images after Acceptance

  • Submit each figure as a separate file. At this stage, do NOT embed art files into a Word or PDF document.
  • Line illustrations should be submitted at 900 dpi.
  • Halftones and color should be submitted at a minimum of 300 dpi.
  • Save as either TIF or EPS files.
  • Color art must be saved as CMYK—not RGB.
  • Black and White art must be submitted as grayscale—not RGB.
  • PowerPoint or Excel files should NOT be submitted

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