Lists of figures and tables are just what they sound like: lists of all of the figures and tables that you have used in your dissertation, along with the corresponding page numbers. These lists provide readers with an overview of how you have used these items in your document and help them to find specific figures and tables of interest.
While such lists are often not required, they are recommended if you are using several figures and tables and your dissertation is running on the long side.
Use numbers and clear titles in the text
Figures and tables always need to be numbered and to have clear titles. If a figure or table is taken from (or based on) another source, you should also note that source. Are you using the APA-style? If yes, then add the source after the title of each figure or table. Also be sure to include a full reference in the bibliography.
To add numbers and titles within Microsoft Word, highlight the relevant figure or table, right-click, and select “Insert Caption…”.
For figures (or illustrations), choose the “Below selected item” position in the dialog box that appears. For tables, choose “Above selected item”.
Generate lists automatically
Once you have added all of your captions, let Word automatically generate the figure and table lists for you. Be careful, though – the list will only include items that you have marked using the “Insert Caption…” tool.
Place your cursor where you want to create the list. The most common place for this list is immediately after the table of contents.
In the Word menu bar, click on “References”. In the dialog box that appears, click on “Insert: Table of figures.” From there in the dialog box caption label, you can choose between a “Figure” or a “Table”, as appropriate. You can also select the lay-out that you like the best.
In addition to using figure and table lists, you may also find it useful to include a list of abbreviations and a glossary in your dissertation. If you go this route, use the following order:
You will need to include a List of figures, a List of illustrations or even both if your dissertation has the following items:
- tables or charts
- photographs, pictures or illustrations
This page should:
- list the name of each figure or illustration, included in the body of your dissertation or thesis. It should give the number of the page that it appears on.
- give a descriptive title (not 'Figure 1', 'Table 1' etc.).
Figure 6: Example of a list of tables/figures page
You do not need to give reference details here.
Include these in a citation next to the figure itself and in your Reference List or Bibliography.
Figures, tables, illustrations... what's the difference?
If you are doing a design or fine arts subject, it is likely that you will include photographs, drawings, paintings or illustrations in your dissertations. These would normally be included in your List of illustrations.
In other subjects, it is common to include all tables, charts, graphs, photographs, drawings, etc. together in a List of figures.
However, if you have a great deal of information presented in tables, it may be best to have a both a List of tables and a List of figures (everything that's not a table). When labelling, number these separately (Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.).
The List of illustrations is positioned after the Contents page (on a separate page) and before the Introduction.
Check what is the normal practice in your discipline.