There are 3 ways to summarize your data after the statistical analysis; in text, in tables, or in figures.

Text: Of course, most of your summary will be in the form of written text. In some cases, all of it will be in text. Some writers have the mistaken idea that every scientific paper must have tables and graphs, but this is not so. Some results are very simple and can most easily be presented in a sentence with the data in parentheses.

Production was higher in Group A (52.3 +/-6.8) than it was in the control group (14.7+/- 3.2, t=11.8, df=55, p<0.001.)

Tables: Tables are very useful in organizing and presenting lists of numbers or text. However, they are often overused. Most researchers use tables to organize data during the earlier phases of their research, and then feel that they must be included in the written work. When importing tables into the final document, only retain the data that is relevant to your work. Just because data were collected does not mean that it must be included in the final table.

Figures: If your point is to show a trend or a pattern in the relationship of sets of values, do not use a table. Instead use an appropriate figure, usually some kind of graph. Although graphs are the most common type of figures, others include photographs, drawings, diagrams, and schematics.
Referring to Tables and Figures

Every table and figure included in your document must be referred to in the text. Your sentences should describe the relationship or trend you want to highlight and it is often preferable to cite the table or figure in parentheses. Avoid using sentences that do not give information and only direct the reader to the table. These are wasted sentences. Keep in mind that a goal of scientific writing is to be clear and precise, and thus economic in the number of words used.
Table 1 shows the germination rates for Groups A and B.
The germination rates were much higher for Group A than in Group B (Table 1).
Abbreviations: When referring to figures, it is acceptable to use the abbreviation, 'Fig.' if it is followed by a number, otherwise it must be spelled out. There is no acceptable abbreviation for Table. Both words must be spelled out in the descriptive legend.
Placement: It is preferable to place each table and figure as close as possible to its initial reference in the text. However, in some kinds of manuscripts or if the tables are quite lengthy (more than 3/4 of a page), they are put on pages separate from the text material.
Numbering: Figures and tables are numbered independently, in the sequence in which you refer to them in the text, starting with Figure 1 and Table 1. If you move them during the editing process, be sure to renumber them accordingly.
Legends are sometimes called captions. Like the title of the paper, legends should include enough information that a reader could look at the figure or table and understand it without referring to the text. This information should include things like the sample size, the relationship displayed or the treatment applied, location if appropriate, and the statistical tests if they are not included as footnotes. Do not simply state "X-axis label vs. Y-axis label".
Because of the nature of tables, they are read from the top down, table legends must be placed at the top of the illustration. Because figures are usually graphs that are read from the bottom up, figure legends must be placed at the bottom.
Example of a Good Table
Please note the following things about this table:

  • There is a period after the table number.

  • The legend is at the top.

  • The units are specified in column headings wherever appropriate.

  • Lines are used to separate the legend, header, data, and footnotes.

  • Footnotes are used to clarify points in the table, or to convey repetitive information about entries.

  • Footnotes may also be used to denote statistical differences.
  • Example of a Good Figure:
    Please note the following things about this figure:

  • The legend is at the bottom of the figure.

  • There is a period after the figure number and the word "Figure" is not abbreviated.

  • The measured variable is labeled on the Y axis. In most cases units are given here as well.

  • Both the X and Y axes are labeled.
  • Other considerations when submitting to an international journal:

    It is always important to check the Instructions to Authors before submitting your document to a journal. It will save time and reduce the chances of the journal requesting revisions before they will accept your article for publication. Here are the four main considerations regarding tables and figures.
    Size: Journals are usually published in either a one-column or two-column format. The size requirements for each are very different and must be followed.
    Number: Just as most journals have limits to the number of words in the text of each article, they also have a limit to the number of graphics that can be included.
    Placement: As mentioned earlier, it is preferable to place each table and figure as close as possible to its initial reference in the text. However, some journals only allow them to be submitted at the end of the article.
    Photographs: Some journals will only allow tables and line drawings such as graphs or diagrams. Other journals will also allow black and white photos, however it is difficult to determine the quality of the final publication because of the printing process. Other journals will not allow color photographs, or will only accept them if the author agrees to cover the reproduction costs. These costs are usually quite high.

    When photographs are submitted, be sure to label them properly and follow the particular journal's instructions. For example, some journals do not allow adhesive labels to be used. Never write on the back of the illustration itself, as this can show through to the front. Since these illustrations are separate from the manuscript, be sure to keep duplicates in case they are lost.
    - Tips Introduction
    - General Tips
    - The Proper Use of Verb Tense
    - Taking Apart Long Strings of Nouns and Adjectives
    - Commonly Misused Words (1)
    - Tables and Figures
    - Abbreviations, Acronyms, Numbers