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Research Guides

Figures & Tables

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:

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


Written Report -The figure/table should be described in the written report (what inferences/conclusions the reader should draw from the figure/table) and 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.

Author. (Date). Title of figure-table. [Figure/Table]. Title of work. Resource_Name/URL.


Example of #1 & #2  (written & figure/table):

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 Students’ Lives by John Doe, p. 25.


Report continues....


Example #3: (bibliography)

Euromonitor International. (2020). [Statistical data on market sizes of fresh food]. Passport. Retrieved January 21, 2021, from

Some Guidelines

Here are some of the guidelines in citing figures and tables.

Figures & tables should be concise, clear, and consistent.

Figures & tables should:

  • 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).

In addition to the guidelines above, tables have other requirements. 

For all the guidelines, see "Tables and Figures" from the APA Publication Manual (7th edition, section 7.21)