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Incorporating, Discussing, and Formatting: Figures

Presenting, Structuring, and Integrating: Images a

Academic and scholarly writing is characterized by the use of specialized graphics, including tables and many types of figures (schematics, charts, diagrams, photographs, etc.). These tables and graphics are essential to conveying information quickly and easily, especially to non-native speakers of English, who comprise a large portion of the readership of academic and scholarly literature. Graphical representations of information are also much better suited to pointing out trends and patterns than plain text. When incorporating graphical representations of information, writers must be aware of journal formatting requirements (including captioning, font, titling, sizing, and notes), as well as what will make the information easiest to understand for the reader. This is an area in which writers with mother languages that read from right to left—such as many languages using Arabic script or the Hebrew alphabet—may confuse their readers. Many Asian languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, can be oriented vertically or horizontally, making the organization of tables and figures less intuitive.

Writers must also be clear on what the norms of their particular sub-discipline are, and who precisely their audience is. The words used to discuss trends in data often have strong, invisible connotations, and non-native speakers may inadvertently select vocabulary that conveys a confusing or even opposite meaning, or that is inappropriately formal or informal.

Another common problem is the over- or under-use of tables, graphs, and other figures. Ideally, a table or figure should provide the complete information relating to statistical analyses, while only statistically significant or otherwise interesting findings are discussed in the main text; information that is presented graphically should not simply be written out in the main text, as well. It is important to review the policy of your target publication about possible limits on figures and images before writing your article—for example, there may be a surcha







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