Dissertation & Thesis Handbook

The Handbook – Preparation of List Materials

            TOPICS KEY
General Style of List Materials


General Style of List Materials

  • Descriptions of each type of graphic element to be listed follow:
    • Tables contain information organized into discrete rows and columns.
    • Figures are other illustrative material, including charts, graphs, diagrams, schematic illustrations, and the like. Drawings and photographs can be included, if desired.
    • Illustrations are typically drawings and photographs.
  • Font and font size should be consistent between tables/figures/illustrations and the text unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.
  • Every table, figure, and illustration must be unique and have its own unique title. That is, each item may appear only ONCE in your document.
  • Tables, figures, and illustrations are integrated into the text:
    • An element that is larger than half a page should be placed on a page by itself centered within the margins on the first page following its first mention in the text.
    • An element that is half a page or smaller should be merged onto a page with text and set off from the text by a double- or triple-space above and below.
    • Each element must appear in its entirety on one page, if it will fit. If it will not, it should begin at the top of a page and continue on succeeding pages as necessary.
  • Do not leave substantial blank space on a page because a graphic element has been mentioned and will be placed on the following page. Continue the text to the bottom of the page, and then insert the table/figure/illustration at the top of the next page, and resume the text on that page after the graphic element.
  • Number tables/figures/illustrations sequentially with Arabic numbers throughout the document (i.e., 1, 2, 3) according to the order in which they appear in your text.
    • Begin numbering each different type of graphic element at 1. Thus, you could have a Table 1, Figure 1, and Illustration 1 in your manuscript.
    • The only acceptable alternate numbering system is to use both the chapter number and the number of the graphic element together (e.g., "Table 3-6" [or 3.6] for the sixth table in the third chapter, "Figure 5-2" [or 5.2] for the second figure in Chapter 5).
    • Whichever numbering system you choose for the text must be reflected in the respective LIST in the front matter. That is, if you choose to include the chapter number in your numbering system, the "chapter number-graphic element number" must appear in the list.
    • Graphic elements may NOT be numbered according to section.
    • Graphic elements may not be differentiated with letter suffixes (e.g., Table 6A, Table 6B, etc.) to indicate a relation between two or more graphics. If the tables/figures/illustrations are related, then they can be combined into one.
  • Any graphic element set up in landscape orientation should be on a page by itself.
    • Landscaped materials must be placed reading outward (i.e., with the top of the graphic at the binding or left side of the page).
    • The page number on the landscaped page must, however, have portrait orientation like all other page numbers.
  • Consistency in style, placement, numbering, spacing, and punctuation used for the graphic elements in your manuscript is key.



  • Data that would require only two or fewer columns and rows in tabular form should be presented in the text as tables are reserved for more complex data. To present quantitative data clearly and efficiently, it must be arranged logically:
    • Data to be compared must be presented next to one another.
    • Statistical information (means, standard deviations, N values) must be presented in separate parts of the table.
    • If possible, canonical forms (ANOVA, regression, correlation) should be used.
  • The "Table" feature in your software should be utilized to create tables. If you choose to not use the "Table" feature, columns should be aligned using tabs, not the space bar and your eye.
  • Initial caps, italics, and single spacing are used for the table title. Align the second line of the title directly under the first word of the title.
  • Column headings within the table should be clear and concise. They should not be much wider than the widest entry in the column.

  • All columns must have a heading, even the "stub" column, which customarily lists the major independent variables in the left-hand column.

  • Numerical data should be expressed in a consistent number of decimal places, as determined by the precision of measurement, within a column. Do not vary the unit of measurement or the number of decimal places in the same column.
  • If a table splits across pages, on the continuation page(s):
    • Duplicate the table number, but replace the title with "(continued)".
    • Repeat the column headers.
  • Consistent spacing should be maintained between the text and the table title and between the end of the table and the text. Two line spaces above and below are recommended.
  • Example of the basic structure of a table in APA style – 6th edition:
  • An older style table is acceptable for some disciplines at Temple University, as shown in the example below. It utilizes:
    • Spanner lines, which include a solid horizontal line at the top of the table (a single space below the title); a solid horizontal line below the column headings; and a solid horizontal line at the end of the table (a single space above any notes or a triple space above text). If the table continues to another page, no spanner line appears at the bottom of the continuing page(s).
    • A period, which follows the table number. The table title is set on the same line as the table number and has no punctuation after it.

  • A corresponding LIST OF TABLES must appear in the front matter, showing the table number, its title exactly as it is typed on the table itself, leader dots, and the number of the page on which the table appears in your document.
  • Tables that appear in an Appendix must be formatted exactly like those in the text – and must be listed in the LIST OF TABLES in the front matter. Tables in the Appendix should be numbered in the same style used in the text (i.e., either sequential or with both the Appendix letter-table number).


  • A "caption" is a descriptive title or brief explanation of a figure. It is mandatory and appears BELOW the figure. The caption is duplicated in the LIST OF FIGURES in the front matter.
  • A "legend" is any additional commentary or a more detailed explanation of the figure. It is optional, follows the caption, and is NOT incorporated into the LIST OF FIGURES.
  • Example of a figure:
                                                                      Figure 1. Logo. One of Temple University's logos circa 2005.
  • Do NOT add alpha extensions to a figure's Arabic number to indicate related figures, even if your discipline's style manual calls for such.
  • Consistency in capitalization in captions and legends is key.
  • With today's computer technology, hand-drawn figures should be the exception, not the rule. If you are drawing a figure by hand, straight lines must be typed or drawn in black ink with a ruler; words included in the figure should be typed. Computer-generated figures are acceptable if the print is of letter quality and large enough to be readable (at least 10-point type).
  • A corresponding LIST OF FIGURES must appear in the front matter, showing the figure number, its caption exactly as it is typed below the figure itself, leader dots, and the number of the page on which the figure appears in your document.
  • Illustrations

  • Drawings and photographs can be listed in a LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS; included in the LIST OF FIGURES; or identified in a LIST OF PLATES or, if relevant, a LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS.
  • Like tables and other figures, identification in a LIST includes the illustration number, its caption exactly as it is typed below the illustration itself, leader dots, and the number of the page on which the illustration appears in your document.
  • Consistency in capitalization is key.