, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 1161–1172 | Cite as

Do men and women differ in their use of tables and graphs in academic publications?

  • James Hartley
  • Guillaume CabanacEmail author


In psychological research there is huge literature on differences between the sexes. Typically it used to be thought that women were more verbally and men more spatially oriented. These differences now seem to be waning. In this article we present three studies on sex differences in the use of tables and graphs in academic articles. These studies are based on data mining from approximately 2,000 articles published in over 200 peer-reviewed journals in the sciences and social sciences. In Study 1 we found that, in the sciences, men used 26 % more graphs and figures than women, but that there were no significant differences between them in their use of tables. In Study 2 we found no significant differences between men and women in their use of graphs and figures or tables in social science articles. In Study 3 we found no significant differences between men and women in their use of what we termed ‘data’ and ‘text’ tables in social science articles. It is possible that these findings indicate that academic writing is now becoming a genre that is equally undertaken by men and women.


Academic writing Textual design Tables Graphs Gender studies 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyKeele UniversityStaffordshireUK
  2. 2.Computer Science Department, IRIT UMR 5505 CNRSUniversity of ToulouseToulouse Cedex 9France

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