Formatting Figures

10 Questions

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Writing Quizzes & Trivia

Test your understanding of the APA Style rules on figures by working through this short exercise. Each question provides the correct answer, and you'll also be able to see all the correct answers at the end of the exercise. For more information on formatting figures, please see pages 150-167 in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010) (hereafter referred to as the APA manual). Please also see Figure Construction: Resisting the Urge to Obscure from the APA Style Blog.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Why should an author use a figure in an academic essay or thesis?
    • A. 

      To repeat and therefore emphasize information explained within the discussion

    • B. 

      To provide supplemental information to the discussion i.e., information that isn't critical to the discussion but that may be of interest to the reader

    • C. 

      To present information that is more easily understood in a diagram or illustrative drawing than via expression in the text

    • D. 

      To add an illustration to the document

  • 2. 
    • A. 

      Bar graphs

    • B. 

      Charts

    • C. 

      Maps

    • D. 

      Drawings

    • E. 

      Photographs

    • F. 

      Line graphs

    • G. 

      Histograms

    • H. 

      Plots

    • I. 

      Combination graphs

    • J. 

      Pie graphs

    • K. 

      Dendrograms

    • L. 

      Stem-and-leaf plots

  • 3. 
    What typeface should be used in a figure?
    • A. 

      The same font and size as in the rest of the document (e.g., Times New Roman, 12 pt)

    • B. 

      Simple sans serif in a legible size (e.g., Arial, 8-14 pt)

    • C. 

      A condensed font in a small size to get as much information as possible in the figure (e.g., TW Cen MT Condensed, 4 pt)

  • 4. 
    True or false: Figures should be presented with a figure number and title above the figure.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 5. 
    The figure legend should:
    • A. 

      Explain the meaning of the figure and be included in the caption

    • B. 

      Indicate the source of the figure and be presented above the figure

    • C. 

      Explain symbols and be placed within the figure

  • 6. 
    What information may be included in a figure caption? Check all that apply.
    • A. 

      Figure title

    • B. 

      A concise and descriptive phrase that describes the figure.

    • C. 

      An explanation of all units of measurement, abbreviations, or symbols that are not included in the legend.

    • D. 

      An explanations of error bars

    • E. 

      An explanation of probability if statistically significant values are marked in the figure

    • F. 

      The source of the figure (i.e., where the figure was first published)

    • G. 

      If the figure was previously published, a phrase to indicate that the figure is being re-used with permission from the copyright holder e.g., Reprinted with permission.

  • 7. 
    True or false: It's acceptable to have elements of a figure that aren't legible, such as a minor item in a topographical map, when the focus of the figure is on an identifiable item.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 8. 
    Cropping a photograph (check all that apply):
    • A. 

      Isn't necessary. Authors should present the photograph exactly as it was taken to preserve the integrity of the image.

    • B. 

      Helps to focus attention on the key elements

    • C. 

      Protects the anonymity of photographed subjects

    • D. 

      Distracts the reader because important context is eliminated

  • 9. 
    If an author took the photograph used in the figure (check all that apply):
    • A. 

      No sourcing information is required in the caption because the photograph is part of the author's primary research.

    • B. 

      If the author previously published the photograph elsewhere, the author should check if s/he needs to obtain copyright permission from the publisher to re-use the image.

    • C. 

      The figure caption should provide the date and time when the photograph was taken.

  • 10. 
    If you want to use a photograph taken and/or published by someone else (choose all that apply):
    • A. 

      All photographs in figures must be taken by the author of the text.

    • B. 

      Take a photograph of the original image and use your photograph. In the figure caption, acknowledge the original source of the photograph and that you've used a photograph of the image.

    • C. 

      Obtain written permission to use the image and acknowledge both the original author and that permission has been granted in the figure caption.

    • D. 

      If the image was taken by a professional photographer, you may need to obtain permission to use itĀ from both the copyright holder and the photographer because professional photographs often remain the property of the photographer.

    • E. 

      Try to acquire the original photograph from the copyright holder or photographer so that you have a high-quality image in your text.