APA Style, developed by social scientists, is meant to standardize scientific writing by applying certain grammar and style rules. Standardizing writing ensures that everyone who reads an article, paper or dissertation is able to clearly understand the content. Displaying data in tables is particularly challenging; if the data are not laid out logically and tables labeled appropriately, you might lose the reader.
Give your table a table number. The word "Table" should be capitalized and followed by an Arabic numeral. For example, "Table 1." Number the first table you reference in your manuscript as Table 1. Number the second one, "Table 2," and so on.
Give your table a title. The title should be below the table number and should be italicized and in title case. APA Style gives you the option of a single or double space below the title number. For example, "Number of Cups of Coffee Consumed by Graduate Students by Gender and Age."
Label the headings above each column or sets of columns. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word in each heading. For example, "Male." Add horizontal lines, if necessary, to set groups of related data apart from each other. For example, if you are presenting data by gender, you can create a column labeled "Male" and another labeled "Female" to display data related to each. APA Style does not allow vertical lines to set off data as that would create needless clutter.
Add data to the cells in your table. Make sure that all data are lined up under the correct heading. Words should be capitalized and numerical data should be flushed right under each column. Add any superscript letters to the cells that might need to be explained in the notes.
Add notes, if there are any, below the body of the table, underneath a horizontal line. Italicize the word "Note."
Tips & Warnings
- Strive to create clear, succinct titles that are specific enough that a reader would immediately understand what data are presented in the table, but not so detailed as to duplicate what will be presented in the table.
- Resist the urge to include all your data in a table; include only the essential information to get your point across without overwhelming your reader with additional information.
- "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition"; American Psychological Association; 2009
- Photo Credit Scott Quinn Photography/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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