Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

Presenting Scientific Data — The Ultimate Guide

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

In this tutorial, we will cover

Philosophy of graphics in scientific writing

Graphics in research

Why do we need graphics in a research article?

  1. Represent complex data and relationships in a way that is easier to interpret and understand
  2. Reduce reading time by summarizing and highlighting key findings or trends so they are easily visible
  3. Reduce the total number of words count and save the publication space

Types of graphics used in scientific publications

Types of graphics in scientific writing
  1. Tables
  2. Figures
  3. Flowcharts
  4. Summary
  5. Flowline
  6. Tree

Copyright of figures in scientific publications

  1. Original graphics: Graphics designed and developed by authors for their current article.
  2. Reproduce graphics: Graphics copied from other studies or the internet.
  3. Adopted graphics: Graphics copied and changed to be adjusted in the new study.

Always use your original miniatures. The other two categories lie in plagiarism. Therefore, always avoid them. In case you need to use them in your study, take the appropriate copyright from the publishers.

What not to do with graphics in scientific publications

  • Selecting the wrong format for data presentation
  • Too large to follow or too simple to be adjusted in a few sentences
  • Wrong shading and borders
  • Not self-explanatory without text
  • Parameters and their units are not clearly explained
  • Inclusion of non-important parameters
  • Unconventional fonts and colours
  • Lower quality figures
  • Non-explanatory captions
  • Use of abbreviations
What not to do with scientific graphics

What to do with graphics in scientific publications

  • Is it really needed to be presented in the graphics format?
  • Every graphic should provide necessary information
  • First, select the necessary information then select the best graphics method
  • Understandable without text
  • Should not include long sentences
  • Graphics should not account for more than one-third of the manuscript
  • Must have accuracy and clarity
  • Parameters are supported by units
  • Graphics must be referred to in the text (sequentially)
  • Check the graphics used is effective or not?
  • Is everything readable?
  • Proofread the work for typos


  • A clear and concise caption
  • Avoid using the abbreviation in the caption
  • If parameters units are not explained in the columns and there is a space, explain them in the caption
  • Include experimental detail



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Afzal Badshah, PhD

Dr Afzal Badshah focuses on academic skills, pedagogy (teaching skills) and life skills.