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SP0146 Improving Your Graphs and Tables for Publication and Presentation
  1. M. Boers
  1. Epidemiology & Biostatistics; Rheumatology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands


This workshop is an introduction to the principles of good graph and table design as pioneered by Cleveland [1] and Tufte [2] and updated by Few [3] so that the participant can better answer the following questions:

Which of the messages in my research results requires a graph or table?Recognizing how graphs improve on simple statistics and convey much more information. Knowing when a table is better, or keeping the data in the body text.

How can I best convey the message?Striving for clear vision by choice of graph, scaling, discrimination of data series, minimizing non-data ink, avoiding chart junk.Striving for clear understanding through a balance between data and explanation. Using order, subheadings, formatting and rules to guide your reader through your table data.

Is my graph/table truthful?Creating a direct proportion between graph and data quantities, avoiding forms prone to misinterpretation, labels to prevent ambiguity; keeping data in context, avoiding more dimensions in the graph than in the data.


  1. Cleveland WS. The elements of graphing data: Hobart Press, Summit, NJ, U.S.A.; 1994.

  2. Tufte E. The visual display of quantitative information. 2nd ed: Graphics Press, Cheshire, CT, U.S.A.; 2001.

  3. Few S. Show me the numbers. Designing tables and graphs to enlighten. Analytics Press, Oakland, CA, U.S.A.; 2004.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

DOI 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-eular.6161

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