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Based upon: (1) the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. and (2) Stout Graduate School formatting requirements


Tables are used because they are efficient. They allow the writer to present a lot of information in a small amount of space. They can show exact numbers and make comparisons more apparent. Use a table when it will aid in presentation. Do not use tables excessively.

Tables should not reiterate what has already been stated in text.  A well-used table supplements the text. Tables can be used to present numerical data or words only.  In the text, refer to the table and tell the reader what to look for. Here are some examples of how to reference a table in text:

. . . as shown in Table 8,

. . . children who display the trait (Table 5)

  • See the Research Paper Template for further information and instructions for using both Microsoft Word and Excel to construct a table.
  • NOTE: Be sure to follow the template example regarding table format as that is different than the table format according to APA.
  • Also, consult the APA manual (pp.129-150) for more details on tables including how to cite the source of information gathered for a table.


Figures are graphic illustrations not used in tables. Figures are not an essential component of every research paper. Figure options include pie charts, scatter graphs, photographs, and drawings. Do not use figures to duplicate text.

As with tables, refer to figures in text. If only one-two figures are included in the paper, put them within the body of the research paper. If there are three or more, include them in the Table of Contents as List of Figures. List the number, name and page on which the figure can the found (same format as for Tables).

  • See Examples of Figures from Purdue's OWL and the APA manual (pp. 151-167) to view various figure options and further detail including how to cite the source of information gathereed for the figure.

  • Note: Although a figure can include a wide variety of colors (e.g. a pie chart), be aware that Stout theses are produced in black and white. Print your thesis figures in B&W to assure the figure sections are clearly deliniated.