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By following these golden tips, you can effectively present your research findings using tables and figures, enhancing the overall quality and impact of your research paper.


1. Decide on the format**: Determine whether a table, figure, or text is the best format for presenting your data, considering the type of information and journal guidelines.

2. Make them self-explanatory**: Ensure that tables and figures can be understood independently of the text, with clear titles, labels, and formatting.

3. Avoid repetition: Do not repeat the contents of tables and figures within the text; instead, use the text to focus on the significance or key points of your tables and figures.

4. Consistency is key: Present values and details consistently in tables and text, using the same abbreviations, group names, and treatment names.

5. Follow journal guidelines: Adhere to the target journal’s instructions for preparing tables and figures, including the number of tables and figures, numbering style, titles, image resolution, file formats, and more.

6. Combine repetitive tables: If tables present repetitive information, combine or delete them to enhance communication.

7. Divide the data: When presenting large amounts of information, divide the data into clear and appropriate categories and present them in columns titled accurately and descriptively.

8. Watch the extent of data: If the data is extensive, consider making tables part of the Appendix or supplemental material to avoid clutter.

9. De-clutter your table: Ensure sufficient spacing between columns and rows, and that the layout does not make the table look too messy or crowded.

10. Use legends effectively: Use legends to explain the key message and abbreviations in figures, and to draw attention to the central message.

11. Label important parts: Label the key sections and parts of schematic diagrams and photographs, and all axes, curves, and data sets in graphs and data plots.

12. Image clarity: Ensure that all parts of the figure are clear, using a standard font, and that labels are legible against the figure background.

13. Use figures wisely: Choose the simplest and most effective way to present data, considering the reader’s understanding and the type of data.

14. Table and figure titles: Use clear, descriptive titles that function as the “topic sentence” of the table, and that draw the reader’s attention to what you want them to notice.

15. Avoid common mistakes: Do not italicize the table number, and attribute the table if it is from another source to avoid plagiarism.

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