6 Referring to visual information
In essay and report writing, it may be necessary to include visuals such as a picture or a diagram. To help the reader see the relevance of these visuals, it is important to refer to them in the text.
To achieve this, it is necessary to give the visual a number (Figure 1, Table 1, etc.) and a title indicating its theme. This allows the writer to refer to the visual using one of these phrases:
- As can be seen in Figure 1 ...
- According to Figure 1, ...
- Figure 1 shows …
- Figure 1 indicates that …
- As shown in Figure 1 ...
In the example text used in Activity 10, the figure has been given a number and a title, and the writer refers to it in the central part of their text by using the phrase ‘as can be seen in Figure 1’.
Look at the structure of the paragraph below and decide which of these functions each sentence performs:
- Introduction to the topic of the paragraph.
- Specific evidence contained in the table, which helps to develop the topic of the paragraph.
- Additional comments on the same topic.
-  In the last 15 years, employers have had to respond to an increased demand on the part of the employees for a better work/life balance.  As can be seen in Figure 1, this demand has generated a significant increase in flexible working practices offered by employers.  In particular, the provision of home-working and compressed work weeks has more than doubled over a period of fifteen years (CIPD, 2012).  This strategy tends to reduce absenteeism and lead to a more motivated and productive workforce (Bentley, 2014).
Note your answer in the box below before comparing it with mine.
Introduction to the topic of the paragraph: sentence 1
Specific evidence contained in the table, which helps to develop the topic of the paragraph: sentences 2 and 3
Additional comments on the same topic: sentence 4
Images and diagrams can be used to illustrate the points made in the text. However, readers will understand the relevance of these visuals if the text clearly refers to them.