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How To Reference Figures In Dissertation

Follow these examples closely for all layout, punctuation, spacing, capitalizing and italicizing.

When including a figure or a table from another source in your work, it is important to include appropriate citations.
1. Tables are numerical values or text displayed in rows and columns.

2. Figures are other illustrations such as graphs, charts, maps, drawings, photographs etc.

3. All Tables and Figures must be referred to in the main body of the text.
4. Number all Tables and Figures in the order they first appear in the text. 
5. Refer to them in the text by their number. For example:
               As shown in Table 2 … 
               As illustrated in Figure 3…
6. Each table or figure should be titled and captioned.

Tables reproduced in your text:

Each table should be displayed with a brief explanatory title.

Example of Title

Table 1. Hours of television viewing per week by age group


You must include a caption beneath the table. Use the following format - this format differs from the reference list format.  See note at bottom of this page regarding copyright permissions if publishing a table or a figure.

For examples of tables see APA Style Central

Format of Caption


Note. Reprinted [adapted] from “Title of article,” by A. B. Author and C. D. Author, Year, Journal Title, Volume, page number. Copyright Year by "Name of copyright holder".


Note. Reprinted [adapted] from Title of book (p. xx), by E. F. Author, Year, Place of Publication: Publisher. Copyright Year by "Name of copyright holder".


Figures reproduced in your text

Each figure should be displayed with a brief explanatory title. eg. Figure 3. Complex Theoretical Formulations

You must include a caption beneath the figure. Use the following format - references for figures are not required in your reference list.

For examples of figures see APA Style Central

Format of caption for figures adapted or copied directly from another source.


Figure X. A concise explanation of the figure. Adapted [reprinted] from “Title of article,” by A. Author, B. Author, and C. Author, Year, Journal Title, Volume, page number. Copyright Year by "Name of the copyright holder".


Figure X. A concise explanation of the figure. Adapted [reprinted] from Title of book 

Tables,  figures and illustrations should be identified with the word "Table", "Figure", or other appropriate descriptor, and include a title and/or caption.

You must use a consistent format for titles and captions of tables, figures and illustrations throughout the thesis.

  • lettering in tables and figures should be at least 2 mm high to ensure that the information is easy to read
  • tables and figures must have titles or captions, and must be numbered
  • headings must be repeated on the second and subsequent pages of tables that split over two pages or more
  • tables should be split at an appropriate place, e.g. just before a new subheading
  • the format for titles and captions of tables, figures and illustrations must be consistent throughout the thesis.


Tables, figures, illustrations and other such items must be numbered consecutively in order of appearance within the thesis.

There are two methods for numbering Tables, Figures and other items:

  • sequentially throughout the thesis, e.g. 1, 2, 3…
  • chapter number first, then numbered sequentially within each chapter, e.g.:

Tables in Chapter 1: Table 1.1, 1.2, 1.3…

Figures in Chapter 3: Figure 3.1, 3.2, 3.3…

Whichever method you choose, the numbering style must be the same for both Tables and Figures; for example: Table 1.1 and Figure 1.3, or Table 1 and Figure 3, not Table 1 and Figure 1.3.


There are three acceptable locations for tables and figures:

  • within the chapter immediately following first reference to them
  • grouped at the end of the relevant chapter
  • grouped at the end of the thesis before the bibliography

Whichever method you choose, you must be consistent.

If your table and figures are grouped at the end of the thesis, you must include an entry in the table of contents that directs the reader to their location.

If the caption for a figure, table, etc., will not fit on the same page as its accompanying illustration, place the illustration on a separate page.

Use of Colour

You can use colour in tables, figures, and illustrations.

Reproducing and Reducing

Copying and/or reducing the size of figures (e.g. charts, drawings, graphs, photographs, maps, etc.) may make certain images illegible. After reduction, all lettering must be large enough to fulfill the font size requirements, and must be clear and readable.

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