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The simplest way to assess if your figures and tables are complete

It can be difficult to decide what to include in your figures and tables in your thesis or manuscript.

How can you make sure they are complete and informative?

My supervisor on my industry placement year taught me the one-page rule and I use it every day!

First, let's pretend you print out one of your figures or tables on one page.

Then, imagine you give the page to a good undergrad/MSc student working in the lab next door - someone who understands "science" but who doesn't know your research well.

Ask yourself: will they be able to understand the table or figure?

Will they know what the samples were, what you measured and how large your samples/group sizes were?

Are your symbols, label and statistical analysis clear?

Will they know what those obscure abbreviations and coded group names mean?

Remember that you know everything about your experiments...but your thesis examiners and journal reviewers know very little (or nothing) about the details of your study.

Did you already know this rule? Or, now that you know the one-page rule, will you change how you present your tables or figures?

I remember trying to write my first manuscript. Why was it so difficult? Why did I feel like a failure?

Now I’m a scientific editor, I know every single scientist struggles (or at least used to struggle) with writing manuscripts.

That’s why I’ve created a simple, FREE checklist to help you write better manuscripts.

Get your free 'Ready-to-Submit' checklist now

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