LAW038 Notes - EXCEPT APA & MLA CITATION
Legal Research and Information Processing Skills (LAW038) is one of the subjects that is mandatory for UiTM's Foundations in Law students throughout Semester 1. All notes are packed in 19 pages only for easier yet effective revision. Best efforts were made to ensure that everything you need to know to score your final exam is included in here (except for APA & MLA citation guide -- I provide other slides especially for those two topics, please look for them on my profile page). However, if there's any missing important information (apart from APA & MLA), do let me know in the comments section. Thank you and hope this helps you with your studies. Good luck!
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- DEFINITIONS (LAW038) Library Information skills: information literacy Information literacy: a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information Library: a building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use of borrowing by the public or the members of an institution National library: a library established and funded by the national government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country Public library: designed to serve the community and to provide lending and reference services to a broad range of professional and non-professional users Special library: a library maintained by an organization to collect materials and provide information of special relevance to the work of the organization Academic library: attached to a higher education institution which supports the research of the university, faculty and the students School library: serve the needs of secondary and elementary school students and to some degree, their teachers Digital library: a set of electronic resources and associated technical capabilities for creating, searching and using information Acquisitions: responsible for procuring reading materials and media except for serial materials Cataloging: process of listing something for inclusion in a catalog Circulation: responsible in activities related to book reservation, lending, counter services, inter-library loans, and membership registration (the basic processes in a library) Inter-library loan: service where library borrow materials unavailable in the library from other libraries nationally and internationally Serials: responsible for the selection, ordering, receipt and cataloging for all journals, annuals, business services, electronic indexes and full text journals
- Reference: responsible in giving reference services and assistance to users in getting the right information either for study or research Reference librarians: intermediaries between information sources and users Administration: responsible for the maintenance and safety for all buildings of a library Automation: plan, implement, manage and maintain the library’s technology-related initiatives Integrated Library Management Utility (ILMU): library information and knowledge management software developed by UiTM to enable librarians to process users’ requests, create orders, generate claims and cancellations Library catalog: a systematic listing of the books and materials in a library with descriptive information about the author, title, edition, publisher, date, physical appearance, subject matter, special features and location Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC): an online database of materials held by library Classification systems: organization of books on the shelves of a library
- Types of Information Format: the way information is packaged in the library Primary sources: raw material, firsthand information or original thinking relevant to an event // original materials which have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation Secondary sources: discussions or comment, usually about the primary sources Tertiary sources: compilation or digest of information in primary and secondary sources in order to provide background on a topic, idea or event Reference: someone or something which is a source of information about a subject Reference sources: provide background information, access to factual and statistical information, and also references to other sources of information Encyclopedia: a book or a set of books containing information on various subjects from any branches of knowledge // an alphabetic and comprehensive summary of a subject Almanac: a publication with statistics and a compilation of specific facts often arranged according to the calendar Textbook: a commentary on a specific subject or branch of study Practitioners’ books: provide a very detailed description of an object, and are designed for the legal profession Students’ textbooks: describe the general principles of law, with an emphasis on the present state of the law Casebooks: reprint or summarizes key cases and other law materials on a topic Yearbook: annual publication presenting the events or aspects of the previous year Handbook: a small book that gives brief and useful information about a particular subject, which is intended to provide ready reference Dictionary: a linguistic work which primarily focuses on alphabetical listing of words and their definitions Biographical dictionary: contains concise biographical information about the lives of the people Atlas: a book of maps or charts, with or without explanatory texts such as geography information Bibliography: a list of books or other publications referred to in a scholarly work, typically printed as an appendix
- Directory: a book or website listing individuals or organizations alphabetically, geographically, or by specialization with details such as names, addresses, and telephone numbers Gazetteer: a dictionary which provides geographical information about places, normally used in conjunction with a map or atlas Bookness of a book: the qualities which have to do with a book (binded, paper/electronic, words/image, distributed) Indexes: locate articles in periodicals Abstract: short summary of an article, book or other sources CD-ROM: plastic disk, on which can be stored up to 250,000 pages of text
- Legal Research Legal research: the search for authority that can be applied to a given set of facts and issues // the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making Sources of Law Written law: law that has been enacted by the legislature (FC, SC, Legislation, Subsidiary Legislation) Unwritten law: law that has not been enacted by the legislature (judicial precedent, customs, English/Common law) Federal constitution: supreme law of the country Legislation: laws made by a person or body which has power to make law // laws passed by the legislature (Parliament, State Legislative Council) Subsidiary legislation/delegated/subordinate: made by persons or bodies under powers conferred on them by acts of parliament or enactments of state assemblies English Law/Common Law: principles of English law applicable to local circumstances Judicial precedent: decisions of the higher courts in previous cases must be followed by the lower courts in similar cases/situations Customs: regular pattern of social behavior accepted by a particular society Islamic Law: applies to Muslims and is administered at state levels by a separate system of courts called the Shariah Courts Al Quran: words of Allah revealed to and transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad (fundamental source of Islamic knowledge, and all sources of Islamic law must be in essential agreement with Al Quran) Sunnah: the utterance, action or indirect approval by the Prophet Muhammad (recorded in the collections of Hadith) Ijma: the unanimous agreement of the mujtahidun of the Muslim community of any period following the demise of the Prophet Muhammad on any matter (persepakatan) Qiyas: cases when something needs a legal ruling, but has not been clearly addressed in any sources, judges may use analogy, reasoning and legal precedent to decide new case law (often the case when a general principle can be applied to new situations) Maslahah: benefit or interest Maslahah mursalah: unrestricted public interest
- Urf: customs Ijitihad: personal effort made by a jurist in order to infer or interpret the Islamic law from the Quran or Sunnah, for the purpose of addressing issues not specifically dealt within the sources // careful opinion formed by somebody learned in the law // individual reasoning by a jurist that could be used in order to find legal solutions to legal questions that are not directly covered by the Quran and Sunnah Istihsan: juristic preference // deciding in favour of public interest in order to dispel hardship and to bring ease in a matter that is not otherwise prohibited by the shariah (right to use private property as the owner wishes is modified by the need to protect the natural environment)
- Law Reports Doctrine of stare decisis: stand by the decision (cases must be decided the same way when their material facts are the same, as justice requires similar treatment of similar cases, requires decisions of higher courts to be followed by lower courts) Ratio decidendi: the reason or rationale for the decision // the decisions of higher courts are binding on the courts below them Obiter dicta: “by the way” comments made by the judges // opinions or other matters expressed by the judge which are not directly relevant to the case before him (not binding but persuasive) Law report: a serial compilation of cases which normally contain facts, issues, decisions and legal principles of cases // published judgements of cases (Malaysia: general law reports, socialist law reports) Case citatory: table of reported cases which have been referred, followed, distinguished or overruled by later cases Followed: a decision is followed by a court of lower or co-ordinate jurisdiction Distinguished: a subsequent court chooses not to follow the original decision by demonstrating that there are significant differences between the two cases, even though the subsequent court is bound by the doctrine of stare decisis Overruled: a superior court subsequently declares that the decision in the original case is wrong Referred: a subsequent court deals with the point of law in the original case without comment on any correctness or otherwise of the original case Case citation: a reference to a case in the law reports which generally includes names, year, volume, abbreviation, first page Digests of cases: provide the case law on a given topic in a highly compressed form and summary of the legal principles which may be inferred from the cases
- LEGAL RESEARCH Purpose Basic rules for efficient use of the law library Basic legal approach which will be useful in conducting effective legal research Importance To ascertain laws on a given topic or subject To identify gaps and ambiguities in law To critically examine legal provisions and principles To undertake social audit of law with a view to highlighting its pre- legislative forces and post-legislative impacts To suggest reforms/developments in law Basic stages Research Planning Research Implementation Research Presentation Research Planning 1. Fact collection (WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHY? HOW?) 2. Fact analysis (West System, Brainstorming, Mind-mapping)*** 3. Identification of factual and legal issues (causes of action, special facts, defences, relief, threshold issues) 4. Formulation of research plan (2) West System Parties Objects Places Basis Defences Relief Brainstorming the process of recording all of the words or possibilities that come to mind without first evaluating them, that are in any way related to the subject a discussion to get ideas or opinions on a subject matters which are relevant to the facts of the case Mind-mapping a kind of diagram constructed based on the central theme or main idea of the facts (4)
- Once factual and legal issues have been identified, determine the relevant jurisdiction and the source of the applicable law—i.e. is it a state or federal? If state, which state? And source of law—is this issue guided by case law only? Statute? List the tools you intend to use and the initial search terms you will use. Research Implementation identify problem(s) for resolution identify relevant source materials locate source materials use source materials effectively analyze research findings apply findings to problems identify further problems Research Presentation identify the recipient’s needs or requirements select an appropriate format, e.g., letter, memorandum, report use clear and simple language use appropriate language style such as informatory, advisory, or recommendation (depending on for whom the research is being conducted)
- SOURCES OF LAW Civil Law Primary sources: Written, Unwritten Law Secondary sources Primary Sources Federal Constitution Lays down powers of Federal and State Governments Fundamental rights of the individual citizen Applies to all states in Malaysia Can only be amended by 2/3 majority of Parliament State Constitution Contains provisions pertaining to state matters as provided under the Federal Constitution including land matters, agriculture, forestry, and Islamic Law Legislation Parliament: Acts State Legislative Council (except Sarawak): Enactments Sarawak: Ordinances Not supreme, legislature must enact according to the provisions of FC (and state which one applies to the whole country, state only) Subsidiary Legislation Authority other than Parliament and State Legislative Council. It deals with the details of every day matters which the legislature has neither time nor expertise to enact laws. English Law Application of English law in Malaysia is subject to 2 conditions: There is no local law governing the matter The English law suits the local circumstances Judicial Precedent Federal Court Court of Appeal High Court Categories: binding (all decisions of higher courts bind the lower courts, the high courts are bound by their own decisions)/persuasive (high court judges are not bound to follow the decisions of another high court judges, decisions from outside Malaysian courts such as English courts) Customs Customs of the local inhabitants which have been accepted as law by courts in Malaysia (Adat Perpatih, Adat Temenggung, Chinese
- and Indian customary laws, native customs in Sabah and Sarawak) Secondary Sources Hansard Legal textbook Legal dictionary Legal digest Legal journal Legal encyclopedia Commentary Treaty Indexes Periodicals Islamic Law Administered by the states (FC). Primary sources: Quran, Sunnah, ijma’, qiyas Secondary sources: Maslahah mursalah, urf, ijtihad, istihsan Primary Sources Al Quran Regulates the life of Muslims in all aspects: duties towards Allah, relations with one another and environment Sunnah Embodies the entire pattern of the life of Prophet including his acts, sayings and silent approval of the behavior of his companions (qauliyyah, fiqliyyah, taqririyyah) Clarify details of Quran Ijma Occurs in situations when Muslims have not been able to find a specific legal ruling in the Quran or Sunnah and they seek a consensus on the matter. The Prophet once said that his community, Muslims, would never agree on an error. Qiyas Extension of a shariah value from an original case to a new case, for the latter has the same effective cause as the former. Secondary Sources Maslahah Mursalah Imam Al-Ghazali: consists of considerations which secure benefit or prevent harm for the protection of life, religion, intellect, lineage and property. In all matters where the shariah has not made an express prescription, laws should be proposed with a view to the general well-being of the
- people and to safeguard them from any potential harm. Urf Muslim jurists placed a value on preserving what is familiar to the people in a certain place, based on established tradition Accepted as long as it does not violate the shariah principles.
- LAW REPORTS General Law Reports Malayan Law Journal [MLJ] 1932-current General series of law reports Cases from Federal Court, Court of Appeal and High Courts Oldest and the leading law report for Malaysian and Singapore cases Contains cases as well as articles on various aspects of law MLJ  11 volumes, 1-6 cover current and landmark cases from FC, CA, HC, 7-11 cover recent high court cases Each volume has the following indexes: general index, index of cases reported in the volume, index of cases judicially considered, subject index, index of statutes Current Law Journal [CLJ] 1981, digest of cases, reporting full judgements from 1983- current Monthly law report Contains case laws, legislations and articles Index in annual volume: subject index of reported judgements, index of cases reported by various courts, index of cases by legislation, index of cases judicially considered All Malaysia Reports [AMR] 1992-current Weekly law report Indexes in annual volume: table of articles, table of cases reported, table of cases judicially considered, table of legislation judicially considered, subject index, register of terminology Specialist Law Reports Malaysian Labour Law Reports (MLLR) 1965-1982 Specialized report that covers the decisions of the industrial court and contains cases concerning industrial disputes reported in MLJ. Industrial Law Reports (ILR) 1983-current Continuance on MLLR Contains awards of the industrial court from january 1982 onwards Jurnal Hukum 1980 In malay Contains exclusive articles on Islamic law as well as cases decided in shariah courts Published by JAKIM Laporan Shariah/Shariah Reports [CLJ(Sya)] 2004 In English and malay Contains shariah cases from Malaysia and other Islamic jurisdictions from around the world Malaysian Tax Journal 1974 Published twice a year By Inland Revenue Officers Union Peninsular Malaya Contains latest cases and articles relating to Malaysian tax laws
- English Law Reports Primary English Law Reports Law Reports 1865-current Most authoritative reports Should always be cited in preference where there is a choice Published by Incorporated Council of Law Reporting Cases are reported in four different parts of different courts: appeal cases (A.C.) by court of appeal and house of lords, chancery division (Ch.) by chancery division of high court, queen’s bench (Q.B.) by queen’s bench division of high court, court of appeal and divisional court, family division (Fam.) by family division of high court Weekly Law Reports 1953 By Incorporated Council of Law Reporting Contains comprehensive and up to date coverage of all important house of lords and privy council cases All England Law Reports 1936 By Butterworths Contains cases worthy of reporting including significant judgements from court of appeal and high courts since 1995
- CASE CITATION Mallal’s Digest 1808 - Summarizes decisions of Malaysian and Singapore superior courts and appeals to the privy council - Arranged according to subject headings and citations are provided after each entry - Older most significant digest is Mallal’s Digest of Malaysian and Singapore Case Law - Newer digest is Mallal’s Digest Fourth Edition (12 volumes) Digest of Recent Malaysian Judgements – until 1984 - Annual digest - Contains judgements of high court, federal court and privy council - Cases arranged according to subject headings in alphabetical order - Brief notes on the subject matters are provided Malaysian Digest - Covers all recent decisions of the federal court, high court Malaya and high court sabah and Sarawak - Contains brief facts of the case, issues involved and the decision of the court - Contains subject index for easy reference
- LEGAL PERIODICALS Contains: Subject index Author index or title index Table of cases Table of statutes Index of book reviews Table of abbreviations Index to Periodical Articles: Humanities and Social Sciences - Published by National University of Singapore - Covers periodical literature on social sciences, humanities, law, and other disciplines from Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and other ASEAN countries Indexes on CD-ROM - Published by National Library of Malaysia - Produced in one CD-ROM which covers Malaysiana Periodicals Index, Index to Malaysiana Conferences and Malaysiana Newspaper Index - Provides good reference to articles published in Malaysia Indeks Majalah DBP - Published by DBP - Covers references to all articles published by DBP Index to Legal Periodicals of Malaysia and Singapore 1932-1995 - Published by MLJ - Important source of tracing journal articles published in Malaysia and Singapore - Includes articles in Malay language
- How to read an act? 1. Series 2. Act number: series of number for acts enacted since the coming into force of the Revision of Laws Act 1969 3. Title: title of the act 4. Long title: brief description of the nature and intention of the legislation 5. Commencement date: date when the act comes into force 6. Enacting formula: standard form of words used to indicate that a bill has been properly passed by all constituent parts of the legislature 7. Short title: index-heading which identifies the formal name of the act 8. Section, subsections: paragraphs in the act which contain a different rule of law 9. Marginal notes: short explanations of the contents 10. Schedule: matters of detail which are appended to the act (forms, lists, tables) How to read a state enactment? 1. Enactment number: the series of number for enactments passed each year 2. Assenting statement: standard form of words used to indicate that the state ruler has granted assent to the enactment 3. Long title 4. Commencement date 5. Enacting formula 6. Short title 7. Sections, subsections 8. Marginal notes 9. Schedule
- Types of reference sources - Encyclopedia (“encyclopedia”s, Microsoft Encarta, Halsbury’s laws of England) - Almanac - Textbook (Chitty on Contracts, Introduction to Malaysian Legal System, Casebook on Torts) - Yearbook (The Annual Register of World Events) - Handbook (how-to’s, user guides) - Dictionary (istilah) - Biographical Dictionary (Dictionary of American Biography, Who’s Who) - Atlas (Atlapedia Online) - Bibliography (citations- APA, MLA, etc) - Directory (Yellow Pages) - Gazetteer (“geographical”, Geographical Dictionary, Geography of Malaysia)
Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
Tables and Figures
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resources for the older APA 6 style can be found at this page as well as at this page (our old resources covered the material on this page on two separate pages).
The purpose of tables and figures in documents is to enhance your readers' understanding of the information in the document; usually, large amounts of information can be communicated more efficiently in tables or figures. Tables are any graphic that uses a row and column structure to organize information, whereas figures include any illustration or image other than a table.
Visual material such as tables and figures can be used quickly and efficiently to present a large amount of information to an audience, but visuals must be used to assist communication, not to use up space, or disguise marginally significant results behind a screen of complicated statistics. Ask yourself this question first: Is the table or figure necessary? For example, it is better to present simple descriptive statistics in the text, not in a table.
Relation of Tables or Figures and Text
Because tables and figures supplement the text, refer in the text to all tables and figures used and explain what the reader should look for when using the table or figure. Focus only on the important point the reader should draw from them, and leave the details for the reader to examine on their own.
If you are using figures, tables and/or data from other sources, be sure to gather all the information you will need to properly document your sources.
Integrity and Independence
Each table and figure must be intelligible without reference to the text, so be sure to include an explanation of every abbreviation (except the standard statistical symbols and abbreviations).
Organization, Consistency, and Coherence
Number all tables sequentially as you refer to them in the text (Table 1, Table 2, etc.), likewise for figures (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Abbreviations, terminology, and probability level values must be consistent across tables and figures in the same article. Likewise, formats, titles, and headings must be consistent. Do not repeat the same data in different tables.
Data in a table that would require only two or fewer columns and rows should be presented in the text. More complex data is better presented in tabular format. In order for quantitative data to be presented clearly and efficiently, it must be arranged logically, e.g. data to be compared must be presented next to one another (before/after, young/old, male/female, etc.), and statistical information (means, standard deviations, N values) must be presented in separate parts of the table. If possible, use canonical forms (such as ANOVA, regression, or correlation) to communicate your data effectively.
A generic example of a table with multiple notes formatted in APA 7 style.
Elements of Tables
Number all tables with Arabic numerals sequentially. Do not use suffix letters (e.g. Table 3a, 3b, 3c); instead, combine the related tables. If the manuscript includes an appendix with tables, identify them with capital letters and Arabic numerals (e.g. Table A1, Table B2).
Like the title of the paper itself, each table must have a clear and concise title. Titles should be written in italicized title case below the table number, with a blank line between the number and the title. When appropriate, you may use the title to explain an abbreviation parenthetically.
Comparison of Median Income of Adopted Children (AC) v. Foster Children (FC)
Keep headings clear and brief. The heading should not be much wider than the widest entry in the column. Use of standard abbreviations can aid in achieving that goal. There are several types of headings:
- Stub headings describe the lefthand column, or stub column , which usually lists major independent variables.
- Column headings describe entries below them, applying to just one column.
- Column spanners are headings that describe entries below them, applying to two or more columns which each have their own column heading. Column spanners are often stacked on top of column headings and together are called decked heads .
- Table Spanners cover the entire width of the table, allowing for more divisions or combining tables with identical column headings. They are the only type of heading that may be plural.
All columns must have headings, written in sentence case and using singular language (Item rather than Items) unless referring to a group (Men, Women). Each column’s items should be parallel (i.e., every item in a column labeled “%” should be a percentage and does not require the % symbol, since it’s already indicated in the heading). Subsections within the stub column can be shown by indenting headings rather than creating new columns:
The body is the main part of the table, which includes all the reported information organized in cells (intersections of rows and columns). Entries should be center aligned unless left aligning them would make them easier to read (longer entries, usually). Word entries in the body should use sentence case. Leave cells blank if the element is not applicable or if data were not obtained; use a dash in cells and a general note if it is necessary to explain why cells are blank. In reporting the data, consistency is key: Numerals should be expressed to a consistent number of decimal places that is determined by the precision of measurement. Never change the unit of measurement or the number of decimal places in the same column.
There are three types of notes for tables: general, specific, and probability notes. All of them must be placed below the table in that order.
General notes explain, qualify or provide information about the table as a whole. Put explanations of abbreviations, symbols, etc. here.
Example: Note . The racial categories used by the US Census (African-American, Asian American, Latinos/-as, Native-American, and Pacific Islander) have been collapsed into the category “non-White.” E = excludes respondents who self-identified as “White” and at least one other “non-White” race.
Specific notes explain, qualify or provide information about a particular column, row, or individual entry. To indicate specific notes, use superscript lowercase letters (e.g. a , b , c ), and order the superscripts from left to right, top to bottom. Each table’s first footnote must be the superscript a .
a n = 823. b One participant in this group was diagnosed with schizophrenia during the survey.
Probability notes provide the reader with the results of the tests for statistical significance. Asterisks indicate the values for which the null hypothesis is rejected, with the probability ( p value) specified in the probability note. Such notes are required only when relevant to the data in the table. Consistently use the same number of asterisks for a given alpha level throughout your paper.
* p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001
If you need to distinguish between two-tailed and one-tailed tests in the same table, use asterisks for two-tailed p values and an alternate symbol (such as daggers) for one-tailed p values.
* p < .05, two-tailed. ** p < .01, two-tailed. † p <.05, one-tailed. †† p < .01, one-tailed.
Tables should only include borders and lines that are needed for clarity (i.e., between elements of a decked head, above column spanners, separating total rows, etc.). Do not use vertical borders, and do not use borders around each cell. Spacing and strict alignment is typically enough to clarify relationships between elements.
Example of a table in the text of an APA 7 paper. Note the lack of vertical borders.
Tables from Other Sources
If using tables from an external source, copy the structure of the original exactly, and cite the source in accordance with APA style .
(Taken from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th ed., Section 7.20)
- Is the table necessary?
- Does it belong in the print and electronic versions of the article, or can it go in an online supplemental file?
- Are all comparable tables presented consistently?
- Are all tables numbered with Arabic numerals in the order they are mentioned in the text? Is the table number bold and left-aligned?
- Are all tables referred to in the text?
- Is the title brief but explanatory? Is it presented in italicized title case and left-aligned?
- Does every column have a column heading? Are column headings centered?
- Are all abbreviations; special use of italics, parentheses, and dashes; and special symbols explained?
- Are the notes organized according to the convention of general, specific, probability?
- Are table borders correctly used (top and bottom of table, beneath column headings, above table spanners)?
- Does the table use correct line spacing (double for the table number, title, and notes; single, one and a half, or double for the body)?
- Are entries in the left column left-aligned beneath the centered stub heading? Are all other column headings and cell entries centered?
- Are confidence intervals reported for all major point estimates?
- Are all probability level values correctly identified, and are asterisks attached to the appropriate table entries? Is a probability level assigned the same number of asterisks in all the tables in the same document?
- If the table or its data are from another source, is the source properly cited? Is permission necessary to reproduce the table?
Figures include all graphical displays of information that are not tables. Common types include graphs, charts, drawings, maps, plots, and photos. Just like tables, figures should supplement the text and should be both understandable on their own and referenced fully in the text. This section details elements of formatting writers must use when including a figure in an APA document, gives an example of a figure formatted in APA style, and includes a checklist for formatting figures.
In preparing figures, communication and readability must be the ultimate criteria. Avoid the temptation to use the special effects available in most advanced software packages. While three-dimensional effects, shading, and layered text may look interesting to the author, overuse, inconsistent use, and misuse may distort the data, and distract or even annoy readers. Design properly done is inconspicuous, almost invisible, because it supports communication. Design improperly, or amateurishly, done draws the reader’s attention from the data, and makes him or her question the author’s credibility. Line drawings are usually a good option for readability and simplicity; for photographs, high contrast between background and focal point is important, as well as cropping out extraneous detail to help the reader focus on the important aspects of the photo.
Parts of a Figure
All figures that are part of the main text require a number using Arabic numerals (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Numbers are assigned based on the order in which figures appear in the text and are bolded and left aligned.
Under the number, write the title of the figure in italicized title case. The title should be brief, clear, and explanatory, and both the title and number should be double spaced.
The image of the figure is the body, and it is positioned underneath the number and title. The image should be legible in both size and resolution; fonts should be sans serif, consistently sized, and between 8-14 pt. Title case should be used for axis labels and other headings; descriptions within figures should be in sentence case. Shading and color should be limited for clarity; use patterns along with color and check contrast between colors with free online checkers to ensure all users (people with color vision deficiencies or readers printing in grayscale, for instance) can access the content. Gridlines and 3-D effects should be avoided unless they are necessary for clarity or essential content information.
Legends, or keys, explain symbols, styles, patterns, shading, or colors in the image. Words in the legend should be in title case; legends should go within or underneath the image rather than to the side. Not all figures will require a legend.
Notes clarify the content of the figure; like tables, notes can be general, specific, or probability. General notes explain units of measurement, symbols, and abbreviations, or provide citation information. Specific notes identify specific elements using superscripts; probability notes explain statistical significance of certain values.
A generic example of a figure formatted in APA 7 style.
(Taken from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7 th ed., Section 7.35)
- Is the figure necessary?
- Does the figure belong in the print and electronic versions of the article, or is it supplemental?
- Is the figure simple, clean, and free of extraneous detail?
- Is the figure title descriptive of the content of the figure? Is it written in italic title case and left aligned?
- Are all elements of the figure clearly labeled?
- Are the magnitude, scale, and direction of grid elements clearly labeled?
- Are parallel figures or equally important figures prepared according to the same scale?
- Are the figures numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals? Is the figure number bold and left aligned?
- Has the figure been formatted properly? Is the font sans serif in the image portion of the figure and between sizes 8 and 14?
- Are all abbreviations and special symbols explained?
- If the figure has a legend, does it appear within or below the image? Are the legend’s words written in title case?
- Are the figure notes in general, specific, and probability order? Are they double-spaced, left aligned, and in the same font as the paper?
- Are all figures mentioned in the text?
- Has written permission for print and electronic reuse been obtained? Is proper credit given in the figure caption?
- Have all substantive modifications to photographic images been disclosed?
- Are the figures being submitted in a file format acceptable to the publisher?
- Have the files been produced at a sufficiently high resolution to allow for accurate reproduction?
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- Knowledge Base
- APA Style 7th edition
- How to format tables and figures in APA Style
APA Format for Tables and Figures | Annotated Examples
Published on November 5, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 2, 2022.
A table concisely presents information (often numbers) in rows and columns. A figure is any other image or illustration you include in your text—anything from a bar chart to a photograph.
Table of contents
Apa table format, apa figure format, numbering and titling tables and figures, formatting table and figure notes, where to place tables and figures, referring to tables and figures in the text, frequently asked questions about apa tables and figures.
Tables will vary in size and structure depending on the data you’re presenting, but APA gives some general guidelines for their design. To correctly format an APA table, follow these rules:
- Table number in bold above the table.
- Brief title, in italics and title case, below the table number.
- No vertical lines.
- Horizontal lines only where necessary for clarity.
- Clear, concise labels for column and row headings.
- Numbers consistently formatted (e.g. with the same number of decimal places).
- Any relevant notes below the table.
An example of a table formatted according to APA guidelines is shown below.
The table above uses only four lines: Those at the top and bottom, and those separating the main data from the column heads and the totals.
Create your tables using the tools built into your word processor. In Word, you can use the “ Insert table ” tool.
Any images used within your text are called figures. Figures include data visualization graphics—e.g. graphs, diagrams, flowcharts—as well as things like photographs and artworks.
To correctly format an APA figure, follow these rules:
- Figure number in bold above the figure.
- Brief title, in italics and title case, under the figure number.
- If necessary, clear labels and legends integrated into the image.
- Any relevant notes below the figure.
An example of a figure formatted according to APA guidelines is shown below.
Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Use colors only where necessary, not just to make the image look more appealing.
For text within the image itself, APA recommends using a sans serif font (e.g. Arial) with a size between 8 and 14 points.
For other figures, such as photographs, you won’t need a legend; the figure consists simply of the image itself, reproduced at an appropriate size and resolution.
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Each table or figure is preceded by a number and title.
Tables and figures are each numbered separately, in the order they are referred to in your text. For example, the first table you refer to is Table 1; the fourth figure you refer to is Figure 4.
The title should clearly and straightforwardly describe the content of the table or figure. Omit articles to keep it concise.
The table or figure number appears on its own line, in bold, followed by the title on the following line, in italics and title case.
Where a table or figure needs further explanation, notes should be included immediately after it. These are not your analysis of the data presented; save that for the main text.
There are three kinds of notes: general , specific , and probability . Each type of note appears in a new paragraph, but multiple notes of the same kind all appear in one paragraph.
Only include the notes that are needed to understand the table or figure. It may be that it is clear in itself, and has no notes, or only probability notes; be as concise as possible.
General notes come first. They are preceded by the word “ Note ” in italics, followed by a period. They include any explanations that apply to the table or figure as a whole and a citation if it was adapted from another source, and they end with definitions of any abbreviations used.
Specific notes refer to specific points in the table or figure. Superscript letters (a, b, c …) appear at the relevant points in the table or figure and at the start of each note to indicate what they refer to. They are used when it’s necessary to comment on a specific data point or term.
Probability notes give p -values for the data in the table or figure. They correspond to asterisks (and/or other symbols) in the table or figure.
You have two options for the placement of tables and figures in APA Style:
- Option 1: Place tables and figures throughout your text, shortly after the parts of the text that refer to them.
- Option 2: Place them all together at the end of your text (after the reference list) to avoid breaking up the text.
If you place them throughout the text, note that each table or figure should only appear once. If you refer to the same table or figure more than once, don’t reproduce it each time—just place it after the paragraph in which it’s first discussed.
Align the table or figure with the text along the left margin. Leave a line break before and after the table or figure to clearly distinguish it from the main text, and place it on a new page if necessary to avoid splitting it across multiple pages.
If you place all your tables and figures at the end, you should have one table or figure on each page. Begin with all your tables, then place all your figures afterwards.
Avoid making redundant statements about your tables and figures in your text. When you write about data from tables and figures, it should be to highlight or analyze a particular data point or trend, not simply to restate what is already clearly shown in the table or figure:
- As Table 1 shows, there are 115 boys in Grade 4, 130 in Grade 5, and 117 in Grade 6 …
- Table 1 indicates a notable preponderance of boys in Grade 5. It is important to take this into account because …
Additionally, even if you have embedded your tables and figures in your text, refer to them by their numbers, not by their position relative to the text or by description:
- The table below shows…
- Table 1 shows…
- As can be seen in the image on page 4…
- As can be seen in Figure 3…
- The photograph of a bald eagle is an example of…
- Figure 1 is an example of…
In an APA Style paper , use a table or figure when it’s a clearer way to present important data than describing it in your main text. This is often the case when you need to communicate a large amount of information.
Before including a table or figure in your text, always reflect on whether it’s useful to your readers’ understanding:
- Could this information be quickly summarized in the text instead?
- Is it important to your arguments?
- Does the table or figure require too much explanation to be efficient?
If the data you need to present only contains a few relevant numbers, try summarizing it in the text (potentially including full data in an appendix ). If describing the data makes your text overly long and difficult to read, a table or figure may be the best option.
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.
If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also acknowledge the original source in the note or caption for the table or figure.
Tables and figures you created yourself, based on your own data, are not included in the reference list.
In most styles, the title page is used purely to provide information and doesn’t include any images. Ask your supervisor if you are allowed to include an image on the title page before doing so. If you do decide to include one, make sure to check whether you need permission from the creator of the image.
Include a note directly beneath the image acknowledging where it comes from, beginning with the word “ Note .” (italicized and followed by a period). Include a citation and copyright attribution . Don’t title, number, or label the image as a figure , since it doesn’t appear in your main text.
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How to Present Tables and Figures in APA 7th Edition
This handout discusses how to present tables and figures in APA style. APA Style offers a specific guideline for formatting tables and figures. In the 7th edition guideline, APA updated the formatting of tables and figures. This article shows how to format numbers, titles, bodies, headings, and notes in APA style.
American Physiological Association ( APA Style ) offers a specific guideline for formatting tables and figures. In the 7th edition guideline, APA updated the formatting of tables and figures.
How to Setup Tables in APA 7th Edition?
According to APA style, in formatting tables, the following rules should be followed:
Table number should be in plain text and placed above the table .
The brief title of the table should be in italics and title case and should be placed below the table number .
Table should have no vertical lines and should have as few horizontal lines as possible.
Table notes should be included only as needed.
APA Style Sample Table
Cronbach's Alpha Scores for Measurement Models
The following diagram created by American Physiological Association (APA) illustrates the basic table components in APA style.
(Source: APA 7th edition, 6.10.2020)
The number of the table (e.g., Table 1, Table 2) should appear above the table title .
The body should be in boldface , and tables should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text.
Note that APA 7th edition update requires the table numbers in bold .
Each table should have a brief and descriptive title, and the title should be placed in one double-spaced line below the table number.
It should be capitalized and italicized as exemplified below:
Numbers of Teachers by Tenure
Each table should contain a column heading .
Besides, some tables may have decked heads, table, and column spanners.
Column headings should be centered and capitalized in sentence case.
The details of these headings can be found in APA publication manual.
A table body should include all the rows and columns, including the heading row.
As mentioned earlier, an APA formatted table should have no vertical lines. It should have as few horizontal lines as possible.
The body can be single-spaced, double-spaced, or one-and-a-half-spaced.
APA suggests that the information in the leftmost column or stub column of the table body should be left-aligned, while the heading should be centered.
It also suggests that the information in all other cells be centered. However, when you think left-aligning the information would improve the readability, then it can be left-aligned. It is especially important when those cells include lots of text.
When necessary, notes explaining the table should be added below the table. Notes should be included when adding them is necessary to understand the data presented in your table.
As emphasized by APA 7th edition, ‘‘three types of notes (general, specific, and probability) appear below the table as needed to describe contents of the table that cannot be understood from the table title or body alone (e.g., definitions of abbreviations, copyright attribution, explanations of asterisks used to indicate p values)’’ (APA 7th edition, 2020).
How to Setup Figures in APA 7th Edition?
According to APA style, in formatting figures, the following rules should be followed:
Figure number should be in plain text, boldface, and placed above the figure.
The brief title of the figure should be in italic and title case and should be placed below the figure number.
Figure notes should be included when necessary and appear below the figure.
Notes come in three types of notes as they would be for tables: general, specific, and probability notes.
APA Style Sample Figure
The Number of Private Schools by Districts
The following diagram created by American Physiological Association (APA) illustrates the basic figure components in APA style.
The number of the figure (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2) appears above the figure and should be in boldface .
Figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text.
Note that APA 7th edition requires the figure numbers in bold .
A figure should have a brief and descriptive title, and the title should be placed one double-spaced line below the figure number.
The title should be capitalized and italicized as exemplified below:
A graph, chart, photograph, drawing, or other illustration consists of the image portion of a figure.
APA guide suggests that when the text appears in the image of the figure, a sans serif font between 8 and 14 points should be adopted.
When the figures have legends, they should be positioned within the borders of the figure.
They should explain any symbols used in the figure image.
Words in the legend should be capitalized in title case.
When necessary, notes explaining the figure should be added below the table.
Notes should be included when adding them is necessary to clarify and describe the content of the figure.
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This handout discusses how to present tables and figures in APA style. To give you an opportunity to practice your proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.
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Adopting Modern Language Association (MLA) style makes it easier for readers to navigate and understand the text. It ensures consistency in the use of the English language and formatting in academic writing. In this article, we bring you a complete guide on how you format your academic papers and essays in MLA style.
The term ‘‘et al.’’ is the abbreviated form of the Latin term ‘‘et alia,’’ which means ‘‘and others.’’ It is used in academic in-text citations when referring to a source with multiple authors. In APA style, for a source with three or more authors, list the first author’s last name and “et al.” for all citations, including the first citation.
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APA tables and figures are preceded by a number and title, and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary)
American Physiological Association ( APA Style) offers a specific guideline for formatting tables and figures. According to APA style, in formatting tables, the following rules should be followed