Blog #5 | 2023

Effective Data Presentation in JAWRA: A Guide to Graphs and Tables


When it comes to submitting research to the Journal of American Water Resources Association (JAWRA), effective data presentation is a key element that can significantly impact the quality and impact of your work. Clear and well-structured data presentation not only enhances the readability of your paper but also helps your readers to understand your research findings and insights. In this blog, we'll explore the importance of clear data presentation in research papers, provide guidelines for creating effective graphs and tables, discuss common mistakes to avoid when presenting data, and offer valuable tools and resources for creating professional visuals that will make your research shine.

Importance of Clear Data Presentation in Research Papers

Clear data presentation plays a vital role in research papers submitted to JAWRA for several reasons:
  1. Enhanced Communication: Effective data presentation makes your research findings more accessible and comprehensible to readers, facilitating the communication of your work's importance.
  2. Visualization of Trends: Graphs and tables help visualize trends, patterns, and relationships within your data, making it easier for readers to grasp the significance of your research.
  3. Support for Hypotheses: Well-presented data serves as evidence to support your research claims and hypotheses, reinforcing the credibility of your work.
  4. Professionalism: High-quality visuals enhance the overall professionalism and impact of your research, thereby improving its chances of acceptance in JAWRA.

Guidelines for Creating Effective Graphs and Tables

Here are some guidelines to consider when creating graphs and tables for your research paper submission:
  1. Select the Right Visual Format: Choose between graphs (e.g., bar charts, line graphs, scatterplots) and tables based on the nature of your data and the insights you wish to convey. Graphs are excellent for visualizing trends, while tables are useful for presenting detailed data.
  2. Simplicity is Key: Avoid clutter and complexity by including only essential information. Use clear, concise labels, and resist the temptation to add excessive decorations or embellishments.
  3. Proper Labeling: Always label the axes in your graphs, and ensure they include the appropriate units of measurement. This ensures that your data is interpretable and meaningful.
  4. Consistency: Maintain a consistent style for all similar graphs and tables in your paper, making it easier for readers to compare and contrast different data sets.
  5. Highlight Key Findings: Use colors, patterns, or annotations to draw attention to critical data points or trends, helping readers focus on the most significant aspects of your research.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Presenting Data

To create effective visuals, it's equally important to know what pitfalls to avoid:
  1. Misleading Scaling: Manipulating scales or axes can distort the visual representation of data. Always maintain a consistent and accurate scale.
  2. Overcrowded Visuals: Cluttered graphs or tables can confuse readers. Prioritize clarity and simplicity over cramming too much information into a single visual.
  3. Inadequate Labeling: Unclear or missing labels can make your visuals meaningless. Ensure that all elements are properly labeled and self-explanatory.
  4. Unnecessary Complexity: Avoid adding unnecessary complexity or decorative elements that detract from the data's clarity and interpretability.

Tools and Resources for Creating Professional Visuals

Creating professional graphs and tables has become more accessible with the help of modern technology and resources:
  1. Graphing Software: Tools like Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and specialized data visualization software such as Tableau or R can assist in creating clear and visually appealing graphs.
  2. LaTeX: For tables, LaTeX offers powerful capabilities for creating precise and customizable tables that conform to academic standards.
  3. Tutorials and Guides: Numerous online tutorials, guides, and courses are available to help you improve your data presentation skills and use software effectively.
  4. Templates: Many platforms offer templates for creating standardized, professional visuals that adhere to the specific formatting requirements of JAWRA.


In conclusion, effective data presentation is a critical aspect of research paper submissions to the Journal of American Water Resources Association. By adhering to the guidelines, avoiding common mistakes, and utilizing the right tools and resources, you can create compelling and informative graphs and tables that enhance the quality and impact of your research. Clear data presentation ensures that your valuable work is accessible and understandable to a broad audience, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the field of American water resources.


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