Psychology Research Paper Tables

Tables, Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes

Summary:

Written for undergraduate students and new graduate students in psychology (experimental), this handout provides information on writing in psychology and on experimental report and experimental article writing.

Contributors:Dana Lynn Driscoll, Aleksandra Kasztalska
Last Edited: 2013-03-12 08:39:20

Appendices: When appendices might be necessary

Appendices allow you to include detailed information in your paper that would be distracting in the main body of the paper. Examples of items you might have in an appendix include mathematical proofs, lists of words, the questionnaire used in the research, a detailed description of an apparatus used in the research, etc.

Format of appendices

Your paper may have more than one appendix. Usually, each distinct item has its own appendix. If your paper only has one appendix, label it "Appendix" (without quotes.) If there is more than one appendix, label them "Appendix A," "Appendix B," etc. (without quotes) in the order that each item appears in the paper. In the main text, you should refer to the Appendices by their labels.

The actual format of the appendix will vary depending on the content; therefore, there is no single format. In general, the content of an appendix should conform to the appropriate APA style rules for formatting text.

Footnotes and Endnotes: When footnotes/endnotes might be necessary

Because APA style uses parenthetical citations, you do not need to use footnotes or endnotes to cite your sources. The only reasons you need to use footnotes are for explanatory (content) notes or copyright permission. Content footnotes contain information that supplements the text, but would be distracting or inappropriate to include in the body of the paper. In other words, content footnotes provide important information that is a tangent to what you are discussing in your paper.

The footnote should only express one idea. If it is longer than a few sentences, then you should consider putting this information in an appendix. Most authors do not use footnotes because they tend to be distracting to the readers. If the information is important, authors find a way to incorporate it into the text itself or put it in an appendix.

If you are including a quote that is longer than 500 words or a table or figure in your paper that was originally published elsewhere, then you need to include a footnote that acknowledges that you have permission from the owner of the copyright to use the material.

See our APA guidelines on Footnotes and Endnotes for more information.

When to use tables

Tables enable you to show your data in an easy to read format. However, you do not need to present all of your data in tabular form. Tables are only necessary for large amounts of data that would be too complicated in the text. If you only need to present a few numbers, you should do so directly in the text, not in a table.

How to use tables

Each table should be identified by a number, in the order that they appear in the text (e.g., Table 1, Table 2, etc.). When using a table, you need to refer to the table in the text (e.g., "As shown in Table 1,…") and point out to the reader what they should be looking for in the table. Do not discuss every piece of data that is in the table or else there is no point in having the table. Only mention the most important pieces of information from the table.

The table should also make sense on its own. Be sure to explain all abbreviations except standard abbreviations such as M, SD, and df. Don’t forget to identify the unit of measurement.

APA style has a specific format for tables. Tables should appear at the end of your paper, after the reference list and before any appendixes. Every table needs a unique title after its label. The title should be brief but clearly explain what is in the table.

Tables are a great way to display a great deal of information in a concise, clear and easy to read format.

In APA format papers, tables are generally used to describe the results of statistical analysis and other pertinent quantitative data. However, it is important to note that tables are not simply used to replicate data that has already been presented in the text of the paper and not all data should be presented in a table. If you have little numeric information to present, it should be described in the text of your paper.

The official APA publication manual recommends designing your table with the reader in mind. Strive to communicate data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Basic Rules for Tables in APA Format

  • All tables should be numbered (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, Table 3).
  • Each table should have an individual title, italicized and presented with each word capitalized (except and, in, of, with, etc.). For example, Correlations Between Age and Test Scores. Try to ensure that your title is neither too general nor too specific.
  • Each table should begin on a separate page.
  • Horizontal lines can be used to separate information and make it clearer. Do not use vertical lines in an APA format table.
  • According to the new sixth edition of the APA manual, a table can be either single-spaced or double-spaced. The key is to keep the table readable and the spacing consistent.
  • All tables should be referenced in the text of the paper.
  • Tables should be last, after your reference list and appendixes.
  • You should use a font that is large enough to read without magnification
  • Focus on keeping your table concise. Too much extraneous information can overwhelm and confuse the reader. Stick to reporting the most important data.
  • Remember that your table is there to supplement rather than replicate the text of your paper. Do not feel the need to discuss every element of your table in your text. Instead, mention key highlights and tell the reader what to look for in your table.

Table Headings

  • Table headings should be located flush right.
  • Each column should be identified using a descriptive heading.
  • The first letter of each heading should be capitalized.
  • Abbreviations for standard terms (e.g. M, SD, etc.) can be used without explanation. Uncommon definitions should be explained in a note below the table.

Additional Notes to an APA Format Table

If additional explanation is needed, a note can be added below the table. There are three kinds of notes: General notes, specific notes, and probability notes. General notes refer to some aspect of the entire table; specific notes refer to a particular column or row; probability notes specify the probability level.

A Quick Checklist

  • Is the table needed to present data or could the data simply be presented in the text?
  • Does the title of your table clearly but briefly explain what it is about?
  • Is the spacing consistent throughout the table?
  • Does the body of the paper refer to the table?
  • Is each column of the table clearly labeled?
  • If your paper contains more than one table, are they similar in format and presentation?
  • Are any special or uncommon abbreviations explained in notes?

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