### Stage 2: Present Tables and Figures

#### Calculations

- In a professional engineering report calculations are put in the appendix. However, in your reports, crucial calculations should be shown in the results section so that they can be assessed.
- A calculation should only be shown once for each set of results. There is no need to show the same calcuation over and over.
- Calculations should be checked thoroughly – if your results look odd it is usually a result of calculation errors. If your calculations are wrong then any further discussion of the calculated results will be meaningless.
- You should take care with the accuracy of any calculated figures. For example, if the time taken to cover a distance of 1m (1 significant figure) is 3.2s then the speed is 0.3ms-1 (1 significant figure). However, if the distance is 1.0m (2 significant figures), then the speed would be 0.32ms
^{-1}(2 significant figures). The calculated result cannot have increased the accuracy of the least significant measured value used in the equation.

#### Presenting the Results

It is common practice to display your results in detail in the form of a **table** or **figure**. Tables are a means of presenting information accurately and concisely, while figures can efficiently illustrate trends and comparisons. However, you also have to use language to introduce your table or figure and give it a title. It is important to accompany tables and graphs with text which briefly interprets and explains the significance of the results displayed. If there are multiple tables and graphs, it is particularly important to use the text to establish the relationships between the various items (tables and figures) in the results section i.e. to tell the ‘story’.

When drawing tables and graphs be wary of using the default settings of your software – they may not give you what is required for the final product.

#### Tables

Tables are very useful for presenting precise quantities in a highly organised and economical way. The reader will scrutinise your tables for the accurate, detailed information on which you have based your discussion and conclusion. Details of data recorded during the experiment (i.e. all the raw results) should be included as an Appendix.

Tables consist of data organised into columns and rows. You should use tables to present data that cannot easily be described in the text. Tables should be placed on the page so that there is a clear boundary between text and graphic. They should be presented as close as possible to their accompanying caption (title) and as soon as possible after they are first referred to in the text.

Tables (especially those that contain many cells) are not very useful for showing trends and comparisons. For these purposes, figures are more appropriate.

In Stage 2 you should present your results in tables and/or figures.

David stresses the importance of checking numbers and calculations in a timely manner (48s):