When should I use a table or figure to present data?

In an APA Style paper, use a table or figure when it’s a clearer way to present important data than describing it in your main text. This is often the case when you need to communicate a large amount of information.

Before including a table or figure in your text, always reflect on whether it’s useful to your readers’ understanding:

  • Could this information be quickly summarized in the text instead?
  • Is it important to your arguments?
  • Does the table or figure require too much explanation to be efficient?

If the data you need to present only contains a few relevant numbers, try summarizing it in the text (potentially including full data in an appendix). If describing the data makes your text overly long and difficult to read, a table or figure may be the best option.