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Figures, charts and tables

Learn more about how to use figures, charts and tables in your assignment. 

Figures, charts and tables can be used to support and supplement the text in your assignment. 

As a rule of thumb, figures, charts and tables should be: 

  • accompanied by a letter/number and a caption. The font size should be smaller than the body text

  • explained and commented on in the body text. In other words, figures, charts and tables should be used actively in the text and not be detached from it. 

  • placed on the page where they are described in the body text. 

Note that: 

  • you should never use figures, charts and tables as ‘decoration’. They must serve a purpose in your assignment. That said, a visualisation can sometimes facilitate reading. 

  • figures, charts and tables should provide independent information for your text, and support it. 

  • figures, charts and tables are not self-explanatory. The body text should state how they are used. 

  • if you want to use an image, a table or a graphical element generated by someone else, you should make a reference and give credit to this person. In some cases, you will need to ask permission to use the graphical element/image. Read more on AU Library's pages on copyright

Integrate your figure into the text 

You should introduce the figure in your body text before inserting it, and comment on it in the following text. 

Example 

Learning the material often takes place in three different ways: teaching, group work and independent study. These are represented in the figure below. 

As illustrated in figure 1, the three fields overlap. This supports the argument presented previously that...

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The information about formalities is general guidelines. They do not replace the provisions in your academic regulations, your lecturers ' guidance or information on your course's website. First, please contact the above-mentioned locations. If in doubt, ask your supervisor.