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How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.

Start the Research Process

Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.

Create an Outline

Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.

Organize Your Notes

When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.

Write Your Final Draft

After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.


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  • Figure and Table Lists | Word Instructions, Template & Examples

Figure and Table Lists | Word Instructions, Template & Examples

Published on October 13, 2015 by Sarah Vinz . Revised on July 18, 2023 by Tegan George.

A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation , along with their corresponding page numbers. These lists give your reader an overview of how you have used figures and tables in your document.

While these lists are often not required, you may want to include one as a way to stay organized if your dissertation topic leads you to use several figures and tables over the course of your paper. Your educational institution may require one, so be sure to check their guidelines. Ultimately, if you do choose to add one, it should go directly after your table of contents .

You can download our Microsoft Word template below to help you get started.

Download Word doc

  • Table of contents

How to create a list of figures and tables in Word

Example of a list of tables and figures, additional lists to consider, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the list of tables and figures.

The first step to creating your list of figures and tables is to ensure that each of your figures and tables has a caption . This way, Microsoft Word will be able to find each one and compile them in your list automatically.

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the References tab, and click “Insert Caption,” which you can find in the Captions group.
  • Give your caption a name. In the Label list, you can select the label that best describes your figure or table, or make your own by selecting “New Label.”

Add captions to list of tables and figures

Next, you can insert the list of tables and figures directly by clicking “Insert Table of Figures,” which can be found to the right of the “Insert Caption” button. Be careful here—the list will only include items that you have marked using the “Insert Caption” tool!

You can choose the formatting and layout within this menu as well, as you can see below.

Add list of tables and figures

There are a few things to remember as you go:

  • Figures and tables always need to be numbered, with clear titles.

list of tables and figures example

In addition to your list of tables and figures, there are a few other lists to consider for your thesis or dissertation. They can be placed in the following order:

  • List of abbreviations

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Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.

Lists of figures and tables are often not required, and aren’t particularly common. They specifically aren’t required for APA-Style, though you should be careful to follow their other guidelines for figures and tables .

If you have many figures and tables in your thesis or dissertation, include one may help you stay organized. Your educational institution may require them, so be sure to check their guidelines.

Copyright information can usually be found wherever the table or figure was published. For example, for a diagram in a journal article , look on the journal’s website or the database where you found the article. Images found on sites like Flickr are listed with clear copyright information.

If you find that permission is required to reproduce the material, be sure to contact the author or publisher and ask for it.

A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found.

APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures .

A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents, and are presented in a similar way.

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Vinz, S. (2023, July 18). Figure and Table Lists | Word Instructions, Template & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 9, 2023, from

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List of Figures & Tables in the Thesis

A list of figures and tables includes all the figures that are used or cited in the thesis and the tables that are made to demonstrate something statistically. A separate list of figures and content is not a must when there is only one or two figures or tables. In such a case you can include them in the table of content. But if the students are using several figures and tables then a separate list for them becomes a must-have requirement in the thesis.

Before going to learn how to make a list of figures and tables, students should first know about how to insert captions with the figures and what is the correct pattern to write the page numbers because these are the basic requirements to generate the final list of figures and tables automatically.

Use Numbers and Clear Titles in the Text

Whenever inserting a caption to define a figure must remember that if you have taken the figure from an outer source then your caption must include the name of the source. Some important points concerning titles ad page numbers are given below.

Page Number should be Correctly Written

When you create a list of figures and tables it comprises the page numbers where the figures or tables are located. Always use a clear format. Insert page numbers at the bottom of the screen in Roman and close them under the round bracket. Image illustration is given below:

In this way, the checker can easily locate the page number after going through the list of figures and tables.

Title of the Figures should be Appropriate

The caption of the figure or table should be most appropriate that exactly suit the figure. In the list of figures, the title of the figure is what you inserted in the caption so it should be clear and easily navigate the figure.

How to Insert Caption with a Figure?

You can easily insert a caption to the figure while writing in a Word document. Here is some simple step that can guide you in this regard.

Left click on the figure

Select the Insert Caption Option (a dialogue box will appear as shown in the picture)

Write a specified title next to the figure in the caption box.

Note : The word ‘Figure’ is known as a label. You can replace it with ‘image’ or ‘picture’ or any other word that you consider would be suitable. If you don’t want a label before the title of the image so you may exclude it from the caption.

How to Generate Lists Automatically

After writing clear and proper captions and page numbers, you can generate a list of figures and captions automatically; Word gives you this option. By following some guidelines below, students can do it easily.

  • In the menu, bar Word gives you the option of references. By going into this option you will further find an option with the title ‘Insert Table and Figures’ (as shown above)\
  • Open the insert table and figures option and you’ll see a dialogue box on your screen.
  • If you have perfectly inserted the captions and the numbers then the list would be fine.
  • Mark the ‘show Page numbers’ and ‘Right Align Page numbers’ with a ✓.
  • Check the web preview.
  • If there is any need for modification so you may go for it.
  • Once you have finalized your list, click OK to move forward.

Checklist for List of Tables

Your list of tables should be well formatted

mention all tables except those that are particular to another list

all titles/captions should be accurate and relatable

Page numbers are clear and correct

Justify Alignment

Make sure that the alignment of your list of tables and figures must be justified which is denoted with four equal lines in the Word Home menu bar.

Simple and Decent Font Style

Use simple and decent font style to create the list of tables and figures because the checker doesn’t want fascination but the authenticity and accuracy are what matters the most. The use of multiple and colorful fonts doesn’t show your creativity. It expresses your immature state of mind.

Students should try to attract their teachers by their exceptional research and writing skills to show their colors of knowledge and intellect.

What to Apply and What to Avoid?

Here are some important points which can help you about what should be avoided in the list of figures and tables and what are the essentials to include.

Additional Lists are a Plus

Additional lists like abbreviations and definitions of terms can be a plus. You must add fruitful content in your thesis that can strengthen it and make it worthy to represent. Table of Content and List of Figures are the two main features of a writing thesis which’s value cannot be challenged. The way you design these two components tells the checker that how much interest you have shown in your thesis. It also exhibits your keen focus and hard work. The heavier these lists are, the more they add credibility to your thesis.


Almost every aspect of the list of figures and tables has been discussed. Hope it would be useful for the students and will guide them in the most appropriate direction for the creation of a list of figures and tables. Students should be mature enough to pick and learn useful tips at the earliest. Many students don’t want to use automatic list generate and most of the students prefer this automatic list generation method. In both cases, it’s better to take the experts’ assistance to carry out the task in a more proficient manner. Lastly, you have to make sure to format the list of figures the right way. Make sure to send your thesis for proofreading and editing to the best thesis editing service  – because the expert proofreaderswill ensure that the list of figures in your dissertation is formatted correctly.

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List Of Figures And Tables For Your Dissertation

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The list of figures and tables in a research paper , thesis, or dissertation provides a structured overview of graphic elements included in the paper. This list guides readers to find specific graphs, images, tables, or charts effortlessly. The process of compiling this list needs more than just listing the captions; it also requires proper formatting and sequencing in line with academic guidelines. This article explores creating a well-structured list of figures and tables with examples.


  • 1 List of Figures and Tables – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: List of figures and tables
  • 3 Creating the list of figures and tables in Word
  • 4 Example list of figures and tables
  • 5 List of figures and tables: Additional lists

List of Figures and Tables – In a Nutshell

The American Psychological Association publishes the APA style guide, which aims to:

  • Facilitate concise academic and scholarly communication worldwide.
  • Act as a reference for the various components and conventions of scientific and technical writing.
  • Improve the readability of documents.

Definition: List of figures and tables

Tables show numerical values or text arranged in rows and columns. In contrast, figures typically consist of graphs, illustrations, or drawings.

The APA style guide defines figures as graphical displays other than tables, including photographs, graphics, charts, and non-textual information.

Suppose a dissertation contains one or more tables or figures. In that case, the APA guide specifies including a list of figures and tables as appropriate.

Every list of figures and tables includes a tabulated, numerical enumeration of the titles of each relevant item. This uniform and consistent approach enables dissertation readers – including examiners – to quickly scan and locate the sources, findings, and key points in long documents.

By following APA recommendations to make a list of figures and tables, college and university students can present their dissertations correctly.

List of Tables

Table 1             Title of Table One ……………………………………………………………………………..2 Table 2             Title of Table Two .…………………………………………………………………………….3 Table 3             Title of Table ‘Three ………………………………………………………………………….3

List of Figures

Figure 1            Title of Figure One …………………………………………………………………………..4 Figure 2            Title of Figure Two …………………………………………………………………………..5 Figure 3            Title of Figure Three ………………………………………………………………………..5

This article will delve into how to include a list of figures and tables in APA style in your dissertation.

Creating the list of figures and tables in Word

Creating a list of figures and tables is straightforward in most word processing software, such as Microsoft Word.

  • Firstly, we must add captions to each figure or table. The figure number goes in bold above the figure (e.g. Figure 1). Then, the figure title appears as one double-spaced line below the figure number in italics in title case, i.e. with the first letter of major words capitalized.
  • Next, use the command on the “References” menu to complete the detailed settings you require. On confirming, the software will create the list sorted by page number and include it in your document.

Note: It is essential to eschew plagiarism if you are creating a list of figures and tables based on copying from another document.

Also, remember that the source document settings and format may affect how the table looks in your new paper: font style, page number conventions, margin widths, etc.

  • Firstly, we must add captions to each figure or table. The figure number goes in bold above the figure (e.g., Figure 1). Then, the figure title appears as one double-spaced line below the figure number in italics in title case, i.e., with the first letter of major words capitalized.

Further information on formatting standards for a list of figures and tables are on pages 225 to 250 of the APA Publication Manual 7th Edition (2020).

Example list of figures and tables


List of figures and tables: Additional lists

Other lists you might consider including in a dissertation are:

  • A list of abbreviations
  • A table of contents

After the title, approval signature, and copyright page(s) as applicable, we recommend you arrange the pages of a dissertation in the following order:

  • Table of Contents

Occasionally, research results or lengthy analyses may extend to hundreds of rows. Instead of including all the detail, a clickable link or URL (universal resource locator) to an online version may be preferable.

We recommend opting for a data repository or an arXiv location, as privately hosted websites may change or disappear.

Best practice guidelines advocate the long-term availability of datasets for at least five years after publication. 2 Resources such as publish details of storage options by scientific field.

How do you list tables in a dissertation?

Your list of figures and tables comes after the table of contents. If both lists are present, the list of titles appears before the list of figures.

What are figure keys?

Figure legends (also known as keys) explain uncommon symbols used in the figure image. They should appear within the borders of the figure.

What are figure notes?

Figure notes explain, describe, clarify, or supplement the information in the image. Only some figures include notes, as and when necessary.

Where do I position notes for figures or tables?

According to the APA style guide, notes appear below the figure or table. Use double line spacing and left justification.

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Thesis/Dissertation Formatting

  • List of Figures

Figures in your document

  • Use Times New Roman for text in the figures. Use size 12 where able, but 10 or 11 size may also be used to fit text within the figure.  Line spacing within a figure should be single-spaced.
  • All figures should be labeled and formatted in APA style with numbering, title, notes,  etc. 
  • Figures should be placed after the paragraph where they are first mentioned unless that splits the figure across two pages.  Instead of splitting the figure, insert the figure at the beginning of the next page after it is first mentioned.  If your figure is so large it must be split across multiple pages, type Figure 1 (Continued) at the top of the next page.
  • References in your text to figures must reference a specific figure and number: "As demonstrated in Figure 3..." Do not use, "As demonstrated in the following figure...."
  • If your figure needs to be rotated because it is too large, rotate just the figure with the top of the figure at the 1.5" margin side.
  • The title of the figure needs to be placed one double space from the figure number.
  • It is important to use the same pattern and placement throughout your paper.  If your figure title is on the top, keep it on the top throughout the paper.

example of figure in text

List of Figures page

  • Required if there are two or more figures in your document including the appendices.
  • Type List of Figures on the top line. Be sure to label this title as a page title heading to format it properly. See Content/Chapters for more information about headings.
  • Leave the next line blank.
  • Type Page (#), tab once,  type Figure 1: Title or caption of figure one.
  • If your page number is a single digit, you will need to tab twice so that all figure names are aligned.
  • List each figure on a new line.
  • If your title/caption is so long it goes onto another line, indent that line to match where all figure names start.  If you have more than one page, do not split title/captions across pages.
  • If your list is more than one page, put a page title on only the first page  
  • Remember all figures in the appendix must be listed on this page.  
  • Do not use bold or italics.

example of list of figures page

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List of Figures and Tables in a Dissertation – Examples in Word

Published by Owen Ingram at August 13th, 2021 , Revised On September 20, 2023

“List of tables and figures is a list containing all the tables and figures that you have used in your dissertation paper. Typically, dissertations don’t have many tables and figures unless the research involved is too deep and lengthy.”

Another reason to have an independent list of figures and tables in the dissertation and corresponding page numbers is the research’s nature. For example, research on a topic from physical sciences or engineering could include many figures and tables. Ideally, quantitative research studies tend to contain more tables and/or figures than qualitative ones.

The purpose of presenting the list of figures and tables in the dissertation on a separate page is to help the readers find tables and figures of their interest without looking through the whole dissertation document.

First of all, we need to decide whether we require the figure and table list in the dissertation to begin with.

If your dissertation includes many tables and figures, this list will prove to be helpful for the readers, because the figures will have relative page numbers mentioned with them so they can navigate to the figure or table of their choice with just one click.

A list of table or figures in a dissertation typically follows this simple format:

list of table or figures in a dissertation

Also Read: How to Best Use References in a Dissertation

Referencing List of Figures and Tables in the Dissertation

When mentioning tables and figures in the list, one must be sure that they have been clearly numbered and titled. If a figure has been obtained from an external source, that source should be clearly referenced in the text and the references section.

Regardless of the  referencing style , you are using, it is mandatory to provide a reference along with the title. This will help the readers to track the origin of the figure.

Adding Titles and Numbers to Figures and Tables

Adding titles and page numbers in your list of figures and tables within Microsoft Word is very quick and straightforward. Follow the steps mentioned below to generate a Microsoft Word-supported   list of figures and tables in the dissertation with their captions and corresponding page numbers.

  • Highlight the table or the figure you want to add title and number to, right-click and click Insert Caption .
  • Next, select the Above selected item if you are working with tables. Similarly, choose Below selected items if you want to add the title and page number to a figure.

Also read: How to Write the Abstract for the Dissertation.

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Generating List of Figures and Tables Automatically

After adding all your captions, MS Word will automatically generate the figures and tables list for you. Remember, the list will only contain those you already marked using the Insert Caption … tool.

To generate a list of tables and figures in MS Word automatically:

Step #1 – Decide where to Insert the List

Place your cursor at the point where you wish to insert the tables and figures list. The most suitable spot is always right below the table of contents in your dissertation paper.

Step #2 – Insert the List of Figures and Tables in the Dissertation

  • In the Word menu bar, click on References .
  • In the dialogue box that appears, click on Insert: Table of figures .
  • In the dialogue box caption label, you can choose between a Figure or a Table , as appropriate. Moreover, you will be able to choose a design that appears most suitable for you. The reference provides all information that is required to find the source, e.g., Vinz, S.

Example of list of tables and figures

table lists in your dissertation example

Other Useful Lists you can add to your Dissertation Paper

Although tables and figures lists can be beneficial, we might need a few more lists, including abbreviations and a glossary in dissertations. We can have a sequence for this which is as follows:

  • Table of contents (ToC)
  • List of tables and figures
  • Abbreviations list

Research Prospect has helped students with their dissertations and essays for several years, regardless of how urgent and complexes their requirements might be. We have dissertation experts in all academic subjects, so you can be confident of having each of your module requirements met. Learn more about our dissertation writing services and essay writing services .

FAQs About List of Tables and Figures in a Dissertation

Which comes first a list of figures or a list of tables.

Simply put, a list of tables comes first—right after the table of contents page, beginning from a new page—in a dissertation.

Are tables also figures?

No; tables have rows and columns in them, whereas figures in a dissertation can comprise any form of visual element, mostly images, graphs, charts, diagrams, flowcharts, etc. furthermore, tables generally summarise and represent raw data, such as the relationship between two quantitative variables.

Do I need to create a list of tables/figures even if I have only one table or figure in my dissertation?

Typically, yes; dissertation writing guidelines stipulate that we create a list even if we have used only one table and/or figure within our dissertation.

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Effective Use of Tables and Figures in Research Papers

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Research papers are often based on copious amounts of data that can be summarized and easily read through tables and graphs. When writing a research paper , it is important for data to be presented to the reader in a visually appealing way. The data in figures and tables, however, should not be a repetition of the data found in the text. There are many ways of presenting data in tables and figures, governed by a few simple rules. An APA research paper and MLA research paper both require tables and figures, but the rules around them are different. When writing a research paper, the importance of tables and figures cannot be underestimated. How do you know if you need a table or figure? The rule of thumb is that if you cannot present your data in one or two sentences, then you need a table .

Using Tables

Tables are easily created using programs such as Excel. Tables and figures in scientific papers are wonderful ways of presenting data. Effective data presentation in research papers requires understanding your reader and the elements that comprise a table. Tables have several elements, including the legend, column titles, and body. As with academic writing, it is also just as important to structure tables so that readers can easily understand them. Tables that are disorganized or otherwise confusing will make the reader lose interest in your work.

  • Title: Tables should have a clear, descriptive title, which functions as the “topic sentence” of the table. The titles can be lengthy or short, depending on the discipline.
  • Column Titles: The goal of these title headings is to simplify the table. The reader’s attention moves from the title to the column title sequentially. A good set of column titles will allow the reader to quickly grasp what the table is about.
  • Table Body: This is the main area of the table where numerical or textual data is located. Construct your table so that elements read from up to down, and not across.
Related: Done organizing your research data effectively in tables? Check out this post on tips for citing tables in your manuscript now!

The placement of figures and tables should be at the center of the page. It should be properly referenced and ordered in the number that it appears in the text. In addition, tables should be set apart from the text. Text wrapping should not be used. Sometimes, tables and figures are presented after the references in selected journals.

Using Figures

Figures can take many forms, such as bar graphs, frequency histograms, scatterplots, drawings, maps, etc. When using figures in a research paper, always think of your reader. What is the easiest figure for your reader to understand? How can you present the data in the simplest and most effective way? For instance, a photograph may be the best choice if you want your reader to understand spatial relationships.

  • Figure Captions: Figures should be numbered and have descriptive titles or captions. The captions should be succinct enough to understand at the first glance. Captions are placed under the figure and are left justified.
  • Image: Choose an image that is simple and easily understandable. Consider the size, resolution, and the image’s overall visual attractiveness.
  • Additional Information: Illustrations in manuscripts are numbered separately from tables. Include any information that the reader needs to understand your figure, such as legends.

Common Errors in Research Papers

Effective data presentation in research papers requires understanding the common errors that make data presentation ineffective. These common mistakes include using the wrong type of figure for the data. For instance, using a scatterplot instead of a bar graph for showing levels of hydration is a mistake. Another common mistake is that some authors tend to italicize the table number. Remember, only the table title should be italicized .  Another common mistake is failing to attribute the table. If the table/figure is from another source, simply put “ Note. Adapted from…” underneath the table. This should help avoid any issues with plagiarism.

Using tables and figures in research papers is essential for the paper’s readability. The reader is given a chance to understand data through visual content. When writing a research paper, these elements should be considered as part of good research writing. APA research papers, MLA research papers, and other manuscripts require visual content if the data is too complex or voluminous. The importance of tables and graphs is underscored by the main purpose of writing, and that is to be understood.

Frequently Asked Questions

"Consider the following points when creating figures for research papers: Determine purpose: Clarify the message or information to be conveyed. Choose figure type: Select the appropriate type for data representation. Prepare and organize data: Collect and arrange accurate and relevant data. Select software: Use suitable software for figure creation and editing. Design figure: Focus on clarity, labeling, and visual elements. Create the figure: Plot data or generate the figure using the chosen software. Label and annotate: Clearly identify and explain all elements in the figure. Review and revise: Verify accuracy, coherence, and alignment with the paper. Format and export: Adjust format to meet publication guidelines and export as suitable file."

"To create tables for a research paper, follow these steps: 1) Determine the purpose and information to be conveyed. 2) Plan the layout, including rows, columns, and headings. 3) Use spreadsheet software like Excel to design and format the table. 4) Input accurate data into cells, aligning it logically. 5) Include column and row headers for context. 6) Format the table for readability using consistent styles. 7) Add a descriptive title and caption to summarize and provide context. 8) Number and reference the table in the paper. 9) Review and revise for accuracy and clarity before finalizing."

"Including figures in a research paper enhances clarity and visual appeal. Follow these steps: Determine the need for figures based on data trends or to explain complex processes. Choose the right type of figure, such as graphs, charts, or images, to convey your message effectively. Create or obtain the figure, properly citing the source if needed. Number and caption each figure, providing concise and informative descriptions. Place figures logically in the paper and reference them in the text. Format and label figures clearly for better understanding. Provide detailed figure captions to aid comprehension. Cite the source for non-original figures or images. Review and revise figures for accuracy and consistency."

"Research papers use various types of tables to present data: Descriptive tables: Summarize main data characteristics, often presenting demographic information. Frequency tables: Display distribution of categorical variables, showing counts or percentages in different categories. Cross-tabulation tables: Explore relationships between categorical variables by presenting joint frequencies or percentages. Summary statistics tables: Present key statistics (mean, standard deviation, etc.) for numerical variables. Comparative tables: Compare different groups or conditions, displaying key statistics side by side. Correlation or regression tables: Display results of statistical analyses, such as coefficients and p-values. Longitudinal or time-series tables: Show data collected over multiple time points with columns for periods and rows for variables/subjects. Data matrix tables: Present raw data or matrices, common in experimental psychology or biology. Label tables clearly, include titles, and use footnotes or captions for explanations."

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