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Use of visual material

Graphic materials, e.g. figures, tables, illustrations and charts are a very useful way of presenting information.
If used in the text, visual material should be positioned as close as possible to the discussion and cited appropriately, both in the text and the reference list.
If used in the Appendices, they should be clearly labelled and referred to in the discussion within the report. They must also be cited appropriately and listed in the Table of Contents.
In your discussion, you will need to inform the reader what the graphic material represents, e.g. point out any important trends or generalisations and highlight the significant point(s) you are making.
Different types of figures and tables fulfill different functions. You should always choose the most appropriate type of illustration for your purpose. For example:-

  • line graphs are useful for showing trends,

  • bar graphs clearly show comparisons

  • pie charts can be used to show sub-categories in relation to the whole e.g. the percentage of students attending RMIT University classified by nationality.

If you are giving the report orally, pie charts and graphs are easier to read and understand than tables.
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