|When to Use a Table:||When to Use a Figure:||When to Use Text:|
|To show many and precise numerical values and other specific data. Especially data that do not necessarily need to be explained in the text (i.e., supplemental).||To show trends, patterns, and relationships across data sets. Use graphs and data plots.||When you don’t have extensive or complicated data to present, and it can be easily understood in the text.|
|To compare and contrast data values or characteristics among related items or across groups.||To summarize research results. Use graphs, data plots, maps, and pie charts.||When you have fewer than 2 columns or rows.|
|To show the presence or absence of specific characteristics.||To present a visual explanation of a sequence of events, ideas or concepts, or procedures. Use schematic diagrams, images, infographics, photographs, word clouds, and maps.||When the data is peripheral to the study or irrelevant to your findings.|
- Are all figures/tables self-explanatory and self-contained so they can be understood without the paper?
- Are all figures/tables mentioned in the text?
- Are all figures/tables numbered in the order in which they are mentioned?
- Are you consistent between values or details in a table and those in the text?
- Are your titles clear and informative to concisely describe the purpose or contents of the table/figure?
- Is patient confidentiality protected with all potentially identifying information removed or covered?
- Did you obtain permission from the author for adapted or reprinted tables and/or figures, and cite these figures/tables appropriately (e.g. “Adapted from…”, “Reprinted from…”)?
- Is the formatting of your “List of Tables and/or Figures” page consistent with the rest of the manuscript?
- Did you adhere to journal guidelines: Total number of tables and figures? Style of numbering and titles? Image resolution, file format, placement in manuscript, color or grayscale?
- Did you combine repetitive tables?
- Did you divide large amounts of data into clear and appropriate categories?
- If your data is extensive, can you make the tables a part of the appendix or supplemental material?
- Does every table column have a heading?
- Does your table have sufficient spacing between columns and rows?
- Have all images been prepared at a resolution sufficient to produce a high-quality image sharp image?
- Is your image still clear after the figure has been reduced to the width of a journal column or page?
- Are your axis labels, figure labels, etc., clearly and appropriately labelled?
- Are all labels legible against the figure background?
- Did you give specifics including scale bars and units of measurement?
- Did you use legends to explain the key message?
- The EQUATOR Network. Reporting guidelines for main study types. Published 2020. Accessed August 5, 2020. https://www.equator-network.org/reporting-guidelines/
- Vintzileos AM, Ananth CV. How to write and publish an original research article. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2010;202(4):344.e1-344.e6. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2009.06.038
- Branson RD. Anatomy of a Research Paper. RESPIRATORY CARE. 2004;49(10):7.
- Kotz D, Cals JWL. Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part VII: tables and figures. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2013;66(11):1197. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.04.016