Consider including graphs if they add to comprehension of the findings.



Many doctoral students fill up pages in their dissertations with graphs. There is an abundance of pie charts, histograms, scattergrams and a host of other pictures cluttering up the statistical findings. Consider including graphs if they add to the comprehension of your statistical findings.

The prudent use of frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pictographs, pie charts and scattergrams is strongly urged - if they add to the story you are telling. If not, leave them out. Above all, use them if there is an inherent message that is conveyed. Do not add “so what” graphs. If you have a graph, it should stand alone without text narrative or numbers to tell some story. Many times, they do not do anything except add color and design. This is not a project in graphic arts; it is a serious research study.

The bells and whistles – the sizzle - of our computer capabilities override our judgment in the use of visuals. In a dissertation, they have less of a role. Their premier showcase is using them to make a visual PowerPoint presentation to an audience when the dissertation is presented at your defense rather than in the text of the dissertation.


Return from graphs to writing your dissertation.