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Visual Presentation of Data 

Visual Presentation of Data

Stacy Christiansen


Tables and figures demonstrate relationships among data and other types of information. A well-structured table is perhaps the most efficient way to convey a large amount of data in a scientific manuscript. As text, the same information may take considerably more space; if presented in a figure, key details and precise values may be less apparent. Text may be preferred if the information can be presented concisely (see Box). For qualitative information, text should be used if the relationships among data are simple and data are few, whereas a figure should be used if the relationships are complex. For quantitative information, a table should be used when the display of exact values is important, whereas a figure (eg, a line graph) should be used to demonstrate patterns or trends. Tables also are often preferable to graphics for small data sets and are preferred when data presentation requires many specific comparisons...

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