It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. That is one reason writers in the behavioral and social sciences use charts to explain material. Charts display hierarchical and ordinal information clearly. The "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed.)" presents guidelines for formatting charts within a paper.

Structure

According to APA format, a chart fits within the 1-inch margins of the page. The font style and size are consistent throughout the chart. Use a simple font such as Arial, Future or Helvetica. The font size is between 8 and 14.

Caption

Number all figures consecutively with Arabic numerals. The caption of a figure is both the title and the explanation. Begin with the word "Figure" without quotation marks and the corresponding number. Add a period. Use at least one full sentence to describe what is contained in the chart, such as: Figure 2. Financial responsibility flow chart within the Best Company for fiscal year 2011. If the chart has been reprinted or adapted from another source, include an additional sentence with the reference citation.

Legend

If you use any symbols in the chart, include a legend. It sits inside the chart, often in a lower corner. Separate the legend by encasing it within a box. Do not include a title or label. List each symbol, leave a space and identify the meaning of the symbol; for example: * Incorrect answer