Writing Guide Home Tables  

Every table should have a underlined title, a person reading your work should know what kind of information the table will give them without having to look at it.

A good title would be: “The rate of O2 produced by Elodea under different light intensities”
A bad title would be: “The effect of light on photosynthesis”

Details:

• The independent variable should be arranged in ascending order.
• You can’t have one measurement with 2 decimals and another with 3. Therefore, if you have larger numbers you need to change them to standard form. If one number is 8.98 and the other is 12.13 then you would change the latter one to 1.21 x 101 and the decimals would be the same.
• All measurements in processed tables should be to three significant figures maximum.
• Significant digits in the data and the uncertainty in the data must be consistent. You can’t have more significant figures or decimals than the uncertainty will permit.
• It is always best if you don’t mix your raw data with your processed data, use different tables.
• Units are only ever written in the header of the column, never after the measurements.
• Data should be centred in the columns to make easier to read

Simple tables

Title of Independent variable (SI Unit symbol)
Title of Dependant variable (SI Unit symbol)
0.00
1.00
0.00
1.00
0.00
1.00
0.00
1.00
0.00
1.00
0.00
1.00

The table can also be done horizontally.

Title of Independent variable / SI Unit symbol
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Title of Dependant variable / SI Unit symbol
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00
1.00

Complex tables

Trial
With light
Without light
Distance (cm ± 0.01cm)
Time (min ± 0.001min)
Distance (cm ± 0.01cm)
Time (min ± 0.001min)
1
0.00
0.000
0.00
0.000
2
0.00
0.000
0.00
0.000
3
0.00
0.000
0.00
0.000
4
0.00
0.000
0.00
0.000
5
0.00
0.000
0.00
0.000
6
0.00
0.000
0.00
0.000

With and without light are the independent variables and distance and time are in dependent variables.

Tables can be presented in a variety of ways and virtually in any way you want as long as you clearly link the independent and the dependent variables and that you can understand the data that has been recorded for it. The rule of thumb is: if you have to explain how to understand it, it’s not clear enough and you should redo it.