Along with presenting information in the results section of a research paper, oftentimes tables are used as a way to visualize the data. They should be clean and easy to read. Tables in APA have the following components:
- Number: The table number (Table 1) above the title and body in bold font. The table number should correspond with the order in which they are mentioned in your paper.
- Title: One double-spaced line below the table number should be the title which is brief, descriptive, and in italic title case.
- Headings: All columns in a table should have a header, including the leftmost column. Headers should be centered and in sentence case.
- Body: The body includes all of the rows and columns of the table, including the headings row. Depending on layout, the body can be single, one-and-a-half, or double-spaced. The leftmost column should be left-justified, but all other cells should be centered (unless they contain a lot of text and can be easier read left-justified).
- Note: Below the table should be a note to describe the contents of the table that otherwise cannot be understood from the title and body. Notes should only be included as needed-- to define abbreviations or explanations of asterisks and p-values, for example.
Tables should not have any vertical lines and horizontal lines should not appear after every row, only to represent the end of a section. Use the following figure from the American Psychological Association for reference. You can achieve this by using the table function in your word processor and changing the line color for specific lines white.
Like tables, figures are used to visualize data or other concepts from within the paper. These can include graphs, drawings, maps, photographs, infographics, or other illustrations. Figures should be clear with smooth lines, a legible font, note units of measurement, have clearly labeled axes, and elements that are clearly labeled and/or explained. The elements of a figure are as follows:
- Number: Figure number should be above the title and imagine in bold font. Like tables, they should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the paper.
- Title: One double-spaced line below the figure number, there should be a brief, descriptive title in italic title case.
- Image: This portion is the graph, photograph, or other illustration. The text within the image should be a sans serif (Arial) font between sizes 8 and 14.
- Legend: A figure legend, or key, should be within the borders of the image and explain any symbols used within the image. Words in the legend should be in title case.
- Note: Below the figure should be a note to describe the contents of the figure that otherwise cannot be understood from the title and body. Notes should only be included as needed-- to define abbreviations or explanations of asterisks and p-values, for example.
See below for a diagram of a figure in APA style from the American Psychological Association:
A good rule of thumb is to include tables and figures at the end of the paper after the references section with a mention in the body of the paper. Figures can be embedded in the paper and should take up an entire page or be at the top or bottom of a page with a double-spaced line separating it from the text.