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*Cite and Analyze Business Information: Figures & Tables

Figures & Tables

How to cite figures, tables, or charts

Figures are non-text items (chart, graph, map/drawing/photograph)
Tables are text/numerical data within a table

If the figure or table  is from a resource, it needs to be cited in  3 ways (each way is described in further detail below):

  1. in the written report
  2. in the the figure or table
    • header (number & title)
    • caption (description & citation)
  3. in the bibliography

Written Report: Figures and tables should be described in the written report. For example, the reader can discuss the inferences and conclusions they draw from the figure or table. Then, the figure or table should be cited.

Figure or table: When inserting a figure into the written report, a header should be placed above the figure and a caption should be placed below it.

  • The title contains the figure/table number and then a short descriptive title.  Figure/Table 1 Brief Title Name
  • The caption contains the figure/table number, a brief description of the figure/table, and the citation. The reader should be able to understand the figure/table from this description.

Biblography: Each figure/table should contain its own citation in the bibliography. Here is a sample citation for a figure:
Author. (Date). Title of figure-table. [Figure/Table]. In A. Author & B. Author, Title of work. Database Name. URL.

Example of cited figure within the report and in the bibliography

An intext citation of a figure, with a written description following the figure:

Survey results indicate rising tuition rates would impede students’ ability to learn, as students would spend less time on educational tasks and more time working to cover tuition costs (Doe, 2011).

Figure 1. Students currently spend approximately three times more time working than on education. Taken from The Breakdown of Student Life by John Doe, p. 25.

Report continues....

The figure cited in the bibliography
Doe, J. (2011, January). The breakdown of student life (2010) [Figure]. American Student Life at a Glance Report. Mintel database.

Some Guidelines

Here are a few guidelines in citing figures and tables. See the Purdue OWL APA Formatting Style Guide for a complete list of rules and guidelines for citing tables and figures.

Figures & tables should:

  • Be concise, clear, and consistent.
  • Appear only after first referenced in text. Large figures/tables should be placed in an appendix.
  • Be labelled numerically, in order of appearance.
  • Be easy to read, large enough to view, and be consistent in size throughout the report.
  • List units of measure, have axis & element labels, and a legend.
  • Contain only data discussed in the written report data (no extraneous statistics).