When writing a PhD thesis or an academic paper, you tend to be limited in how you can present results by the physical paper size, e.g. A4 for a thesis and often much tighter when targeting journals or conference proceedings.
This seems needlessly restrictive in this day and age, but perhaps that's a different discussion about the whole academic publishing machinery and its implications for good research.
My question is: how do you approach presenting data in a way that doesn't lose detail and impact, but fits in 15 x 25 cm (if you're lucky)?
I'll use an example to illustrate - after one set of experiments I have a plot that looks like this:
This plot could be really useful in drawing out lots of conclusions and further questions. As it is, it only covers a sample of the actual results, but shows important trends and differences.
I've had a few ideas about how I might present this. I could:
- Make an interactive visualisation available online and refer to it in the printed paper - printing just a small sample there but referring to the full results in the commentary.
- Summarise the findings using tabulated numbers and perhaps just present one example (corresponding to one column of the image above).
- Just squeeze it in somehow to give a "big picture" and then explain and point to full results elsewhere.
I wondered if this is a common problem and what good practice exists out there.