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Currently editing a report written by someone else, and one of the bullet points references a table and a figure in the previous page. Here's how it's written:

  • The ten most frequently reported disease X serotypes accounted for 50% of all disease X that were serotyped during 2020 (Table 5) (Figure 6)

I can't seem to remember whether I can combine the two cross-references as (Table 5, Figure 6) or leave them as-is.

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    You should have editing guidelines for this but the latter option is more common.
    – Roland
    Oct 15 at 5:50
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    OT: It seems poor referencing, or redundant layout. Why is there a figure if the data are presented in the table? I personally would refer to the figure, while the table is the source of the data so should be referred to in the figure. (Table 5, Figure 6) seems to refer to figure 6 in table 5, anyhow.
    – EarlGrey
    Oct 15 at 9:09
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    @EarlGrey +1: The ambiguity can be avoided by replacing a comma with "and" or a semicolon but still does not mean it is a good way to structure writing. Where is the reader supposed to look at? "Please check out pp. 9 and 17 and a footnote 2 on page 11, then resume reading" is just no good. Some big papers apparently do that - see Table 1 referring to Figure 2 here (please don't do that in your own writing!). If the figure cannot convey enough meaning, redo it, remove it or put the table into appendix if absolutely necessary. Or refer to one from another
    – Lodinn
    Oct 15 at 9:53
  • Thanks all. As much as I agree with better wording, I've been instructed to not to do that as it's a very dry and boring government report that barely anyone will read. :)
    – K.C.
    Oct 17 at 23:33
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The second option (Table 5, Figure 6) is better than the first, but both are inferior to being a little more descriptive. Some examples:

(1) Figure 6 shows that the ten most frequently reported disease X serotypes accounted for 50% of all disease X that were serotyped during 2020, further details of which are listed in Table 5.

(2)The frequency of disease X serotypes, enumerated in Table 5, reveal that the ten most frequently serotypes accounted for 50% of all disease X serotyped during 2020 (see Fig. 6 for distribution).

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