When one variable is clearly dependent upon another (e.g. Height depends on age, but it is hard to imagine age depending on height the convention is to plot the dependent variable on the y axis and the independent variable on the x axis. Sometimes there is no clear independent variable (e.g. Width of leaves: does width depend on width, or vice-versa?) In these cases it makes no difference which variable is on which axis; the variables are inter -dependent, and an x, y plot of these shows the relationship between them (rather than the effect. Alternatively, the relationship might be indirect: both seed production and plant biomass might depend on some other, unmeasured variable. Our choice of axes to demonstrate correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Top of Page x, y line Graph Line graphs plot a series of related values that depict a change in y as a function.
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Setting the bin size.5 m would have for yielded too many columns with low frequencies in each, making it diffcult to visualize a pattern. Conversely, setting the bin size too large (2-3 m) would have english yielded too few columns, again obscuring the underlying pattern. A rule of thumb is to start with a number of bins that is equal to the square root of the largest value in your data set(s) to be plotted. The values labeled on the x axis are the bin centers ; in this example, bin 10 m contains values that range from.50 -10.49. Sample size is clearly indicated, either in the legend (as in this case) or in the body of the graph itself; the y axis includes numbered and minor ticks to allow easy determination of bar values. Top of Page x,y scatterplot These are plots of x, y coordinates showing each individual's or sample's score on two variables. When plotting data this way we are usually interested in knowing whether the two variables show a "relationship. Do they change in value together in a consistent way? Note in this example that: each axis is labeled (including units where appropriate) and includes numbered and minor ticks to allow easy determination of the values of plotted points; sample size is included in the legend or the body of the graph; if the data. For instance, the x axis is truncated below 50 g because no plants smaller than 52 g were measured. The ranges selected also result in labeled ticks that are easy to read (50, 100, 150, rather than 48, 96, 144 ) Which variable goes on the x axis?
Top of Page Frequency histogram Frequency histograms (also called frequency distributions) are bar-type graphs that show how the measured individuals are distributed along an axis of the measured variable. Frequency (the y axis) can be absolute (i.e. Number of counts) or relative (i.e. Percent or proportion of the sample.) A familiar example would be a histogram of exam scores, showing the number of students who thesis achieved each possible score. Frequency histograms are important in describing populations,. Size and age distributions. Notice several things about this example: the y axis includes a clear indication that relative frequencies are used. (Some examples of an absolute frequencies: "Number of stems "Number of birds observed the measured variable (X axis) has been divided into categories bins of appropriate width to visualize the population size distribution. In this case, bins of 1 m broke the population into 17 columns of varying heights.
(Note that although a bar graph might be used to show differences between only 2 groups, especially for pedagogical purposes, editors of many journals would prefer that you save space by presenting such information in the text.) In this example notice that: legend goes below. In most cases units are given here as well (see next example the categorical variable (habitat) is labelled on the x axis, and each category is designated; a second categorical variable (year) within book habitat has been designated by different bar fill color. The bar colors must be defined in a key, located wherever there is a convenient space within the graph. Error bars are included, extending 1 sd or sem above the mean. Statistical differences may be indicated by a system of letters above the bars, with an accompanying note in the caption indicating the test and the significance level used. Notice here: the completeness of the legend, which in this case requires over 3 lines just to describe the treatments used and variable measured. Axis labels, with units; treatment group (pH) levels paper specified on x axis; error bars and group sample sizes accompany each bar, and each of these is well-defined in legend; statistical differences in this case are indicated by lines drawn over the bars, and the statistical.
Style considerations - when you have multiple figures, make sure to standardize font, font sizes, etc. Such that all figures look stylistically similar. Top of Page compound Figures When you have multiple graphs, or graphs and others illustrative materials that are interrelated, it may be most efficient to present them as a compound figure. Compound figures combine multiple graphs into one common figure and share a common legend. Each figure must be clearly identified by capital letter (a, b, c, etc and, when referred to from the results text, is specifically identified by that letter,. The legend of the compound figure must also identify each graph and the data it presents by letter. Four Common Figure types Bar Graph Bar graphs are used when you wish to compare the value of a single variable (usually a summary value such as a mean) among several groups. For example, a bar graph is appropriate to show the mean sizes of plants harvested from plots that received 4 different fertilizer treatments.
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Offset axes or not? Elect to offset the axes only when data points will be obscured by being printed over the y axis. Error bars or not? Always include error bars (e.g., sd or sem) when plotting means. In some courses you may be asked to plot other measures associated with the mean, such as confidence intervals. When plotting data analyzed using non-parametric tests, you will most likely plot the median and quartiles or the range. These might be dotplots or box and whisker plots.
Tick marks - use common sense when deciding on major (numbered) versus minor ticks. Major ticks should be used to reasonably break up the range of values plotted into integer values. Within the major intervals, it is usually necessary to add thank minor interval ticks that further subdivide the scale into logical units (i.e., a interval that is a factor of the major tick interval). For example, when using major tick intervals of 10, minor tick intervals of 1,2, or 5 might be used, but not 3. When the data follow a uniform interval on the x-axis (e.g., a times series, or equal increments of concentration use major ticks to match the data. No minor intervals would be used in this case. Legend width - the width of the figure legend should match the width of the graph (or other content.
For course-related papers, a good rule of thumb is to size your figures to fill about one-half of a page. Use an easily readable font size for axes and ticks. Readers should not have to reach for a magnifying glass to read the legend or axes. Compound figures may require a full page. Color or no color? Most often black and white is preferred.
The rationale is that if you need to photocopy or fax your paper, any information conveyed by colors will be lost to the reader. However, for a poster presentation or a talk with projected images, color can be helpful in distinguishing different data sets. Every aspect of your Figure should convey information; never use color simply because it is pretty. Title or no title? Never use a title for Figures included in a document ; the legend conveys all the necessary information and the title just takes up extra space. However, for posters or projected images, where people may have a harder time reading the small print of a legend, a larger font title is very helpful.
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Tables formatted with cell boundaries showing are literature unlikely to be permitted in a journal. Example 1: courtesy of Shelley ball. Example 2: courtesy of Shelley ball. Example 3: courtesy of Greg Anderson In these examples notice several things: the presence of a period after "Table the legend (sometimes called the caption ) goes above the table; units are specified in column headings wherever appropriate; lines of demarcation are used to set. 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 among groups. Top of Page The Anatomy of a figure The sections below show when and how to use the four most common Figure types (bar graph, frequency histogram, xy scatterplot, xy line graph.) The final section gives examples of other, less common, types of Figures. Parts of a graph: Below are example figures (typical line and bar write graphs) with the various component parts labeled in red. Refer back to these examples if you encounter an unfamiliar term as you read the following sections. Some general considerations about Figures: Big or little?
Much of the results are also reported in the legends. Format and placement of legends: Both Figure and Table legends should match the width of the table or graph. Table legends go above the body of the table and are left justified ; Tables are read from the top down. Figure legends go below the graph and are left justified ; graphs and other types of Figures are usually read from the bottom. Use a font one size smaller than the body text of the document poetry and be consistent throughout the document. Use the same font as the body text. Top of Page The Anatomy of a table table 4 below shows the typical layout of a table in three sections demarcated by lines. Tables are most easily constructed using your word processor's table function or a spread sheet such as Excel. Gridlines or boxes, commonly invoked by word processors, are helpful for setting cell and column alignments, but should be eliminated from the printed version.
this section, note the completeness of the legends. When you are starting out, you can use one of these examples (or an appropriate example from a published paper) as a model to follow in constructing your own legends. Note : questions frequently arise about how much methodology to include in the legend, and how much results reporting should be done. For lab reports, specific results should be reported in the results text with a reference to the applicable table or Figure. Other than culture conditions, methods are similarly confined to the methods section. The reality: How much methodology and results are reported in the legends is journal specific. Science and, nature so limit the body text that virtually all of the methods are presented in the figure and Table legends or in footnotes.
E., it must be able to stand alone and be interpretable. Overly complicated Figures or Tables may be difficult to understand in or out of context, so strive for simplicity whenever possible. If you are unsure whether your tables or figures meet these criteria, give them to a fellow biology major (not in your course) and ask them to interpret your results. Descriptive legends or Captions: to pass the "acid test" above, a clear and complete legend (sometimes called a caption) is essential. Like the title of the paper itself, each legend should convey as much information as possible about what the table or Figure tells the reader : the first sentence functions as the title for the figure (or table) and should clearly indicate what results are. Location (only if a field experiment specific explanatory information needed to interpret the results shown (in tables, this is frequently done as footnotes) supermarket and may include a key to any annotations, culture parameters or conditions if applicable (temperature, media, etc) as applicable, and, sample sizes. Do not simply restate the axis labels with a "versus" written in between. Height frequency of White pines (.
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Top of database Page, how to number Tables and Figures: Figures and Tables are numbered independently, in the sequence in which you refer to them in the text, starting with Figure 1 and Table. If, in revison, you change the presentation sequence of the figures and tables, you must renumber them to reflect the new sequence. Placement of Figures and Tables within the paper: In manuscripts (e.g. Lab papers, drafts tables and Figures are usually put on separate pages from text material. In consideration of your readers, place each Table or Figure as near as possible to the place where you first refer to it (e.g., the next page). It is permissable to place all the illustrative material at the end of the results section so as to avoid interrupting the flow of text. The figures and Tables may be embedded in the text, but avoid breaking up the text into small blocks; it is better to have whole pages of text with Figures and Tables on their own pages. The "Acid Test" for Tables and Figures: Any table or Figure you present must be sufficiently clear, well-labeled, and described by its legend to be understood by your intended audience without reading the results section,.