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Graphs and Tables

Medical communicators often rely on graphs and tables to highlight important information that could otherwise get lost in a text.

Graphs and tables — along with flowcharts, illustrations, computer‑generated images, maps, and photographs — may also be referred to as figures.

While a graph shows relationships, trends, frequencies, or amounts of data in diagrams, a table arranges data systematically, usually in rows or columns.

When can you use tables and graphs?

If data are qualitative (i.e., they can be grouped into categories), using text will generally suffice.

If data are quantitative (i.e., they can be counted), tables and graphs are generally mandated:

  • Graphs are best for showing relationships or trends.

  • Tables are preferred to display exact values.

Why not just stick to words?

Text alone may not always convey a message, especially when numbers are included.

Not only do graphs and tables capture the reader's attention by breaking text monotony, but they also help clarify our message.

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