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How to Cite Graphs in a Paper

Updated April 17, 2017

APA Style

Cite the graph within your research paper as "Figure" followed by whichever number you have assigned it, for example "Figure 4."

Create a caption below your graph. Write "Figure" and the graph's assigned number in italics followed by a period. Write the title of the graph followed by a period.

Prepare an entry for the graph on your References page, unless you have created the graph for this particular paper. Use the appropriate APA format for the source from which you obtained the graph, for example a journal article or book.

Model a citation for a graph taken from a book after this example:

Taylor, S.C. (2009). Corporate Sales Since 2000 [Graph]. In R.W. Younge, Business Strategies for Entrepreneurs. New York, NY: Random House.

Model a citation for a graph taken from a journal article after this example:

Taylor, S.C. (2009). Corporate Sales Since 2000 [Graph]. In R.W. Younge, Business Strategies for Entrepreneurs. Computer Business Review, 55, 763-772.

MLA Style

Cite the graph within your research paper as "fig." followed by whichever number you have assigned it, for example "fig. 3."

Create a caption below your graph. Write "Fig." and the graph's assigned number followed by a period. Write the full citation immediately after the period. Provide all available source information in MLA note form. Start with the author's name followed by the title of the graph, the publication information and the page number(s).

Check your graph citation using this example:

Fig. 3. Samuel Taylor, Corporate Sales Since 2000 (New York: Random House, 2009) 23. Print.

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About the Author

Victoria Kennedy has an honors B.A. in English from Wilfrid Laurier University. She works as a writing tutor at her university's writing center and also contributed to her campus newspaper.