Tables, figures and illustrations play a significant role in enhancing a reader's understanding of your writing. One need not be a professional artist or draftsperson to create impressive tables in your essays, especially as most word processing software that are available today facilitate easy embedding of tables and figures.
Tables are important because they help the writer minimize the data values in the text. Moreover, tables also facilitate in the elimination of insignificant variables and associated data. However, while creating a table in your essay, you must be doubly sure that the table is absolutely necessary and that you are not using it merely to fill in the space. It is highly recommended that simple data and statistics be presented in the text and not in a table.
Students, while writing technical essays
, must realize and understand that tables are meant to supplement the text. There should be reference to all the tables in your text, and the text should also facilitate the readers with the necessary explanation. Conversely, the author should also ensure that the table is self-explanatory and is comprehensible without having to refer the text.
How to Create Tables
Anyone can create a table; however, to create a table that is easily comprehendible by the audience takes a bit of effort. One must cautiously design the layout of the table; moreover, one also needs to pay due attention on the labeling to make it direct and discreet, so that the readers' attention is directed to the more crucial aspects of your tables such as data and variables.
While creating tables, it is quintessential to gather all the necessary data and information beforehand. It is also crucial that you number all tables sequentially to avoid ambiguity in your writing. For your tables and writing to be effective, one must not repeat the same information in multiple tables.
In simple terms, a table is a combination of columns and rows with some data in it. Each column has a column heading at the top that demarcates the contents of that specific column; the heading of the column also specifies the unit of measurement that is used in the table. Similarly, the left edges of most tables consist of row headings that ascertain the contents in that row. The top row often places the title of the table; however, one can also place the title on the top of the table. One can also omit the title, provided the table is obvious and does not require cross-referencing.
It is better to refer to the table in the text that just precedes the table. This will help readers understand the importance of the information that is shared in the table. It is highly recommended that one does not include vast and complicated data in a single table. If you think that the readers are going to be overwhelmed by the information that is shared with them in the particular table, then it is best to divide the data in two parts and then share it with the audience in two different tables of smaller sizes.
While using abbreviations for units of measurements, one must not mention the unit in each row or column. Alternatively, it is best to mention the abbreviation of the unit in parentheses in the row/column heading.
One should align numbers appropriately to the right in the columns. Similarly, if one has to deal with decimals in the table, then one has to be cautious and decimal-align the numbers appropriately. For instance, if 154 and 2 were to be placed in a single column, then one must align the 2 just below the 4, and not below the 1.
Words are to be left justified in tables; however, one can also find tables where the words are centered and not left justified. Similarly, column headings and the title of the table should be centered in their respective places.
If you need to stress on an especially important point that is associated with one or more elements in the table, then it is best to use a footnote for the purpose. This will bestow your table with the necessary clarity and will also help you avoid over congestion of information in the table.
How to Cite Tables in Academic Writings and Essays
Now that you know how to create tables, you should also know how to cite tables in essays.
Table components include the Table, its number, its title (in italics), its caption and the table of information. Generally, the caption of the table begins with the word Note (in italics), which is followed by the descriptive note and the source from where the table is taken (provided the author has not created the table himself). The caption should be mentioned diligently immediately below the table should be double-spaced.
For example, if the Table is resourced from a journal article, then it should be cited in the following way:
Note. Descriptive Note. Reprinted or Adapted from "Article Title" by Name of the Author, year, Title of Journal, volume number, p.xx. Year of the Copyright and the Name of the Copyright Holder. Adapted with Permission.
If the Table is adapted or resourced from a book, then the following format should be followed while citing it in your essay
Note. Descriptive Note. Reprinted or Adapted from Book Title (p.xx) by Name of the Author, year, Place of Publication: Publisher. Year of the Copyright by the Name of the Copyright Holder. Adapted (or Republished) with Permission.
It is good to point that depending on the resource from where the Table is taken, the reference and citing format will differ slightly. To make it easier for students, it is often best to cite the source in accordance with the writing style (APA, MLA, Harvard Referencing Style, etc.) that you follow in your writing.
The tips, suggestion and information given in this article is sure to help you create Tables that are not only visually appealing, but are also correctly arranged and designed. This article also helps you with citation of Tables in your technical writing assignments