It's my understanding that APA discourages repeating the same data in different tables; i.e., if you find yourself doing that, then maybe you need a table that combines the data in a different way.

However, what about repeating exactly the same table (or figure) in different chapters of a dissertation?

From a reader perspective, it's easier to see the table or figure on the same page where it is discussed vs. seeing a cross-reference and flipping back and forth.

And, if you do repeat a table or figure, then it's also better for readers if the caption of the duplicate item indicates that it is a duplicate (otherwise in the table of contents there appears to be a mistake).

The following may be relevant to those who want to answer my question.

  • I am editing someone else's dissertation.
  • The student has successfully defended.
  • This is the final edit before publication.
  • The university standards do not cover this situation.

First off, a dissertation is a very unusual document, which tends to have a lot of authorial flexibility in its presentation. As such, there's often a lot of possible latitude for choices that would not be permitted by a more conventional publication in a journal or conference.

That said, here are the guidelines that I personally would use for considering the options:

  • If the table is primarily for purpose of ease of reference (e.g., table of notations), then using it more than once is fine. Typically, one would want to reference the first copy. In some cases, however, I might not even think of it as duplication so much as convergent evolution and not needing a reference: e.g., "notation used in this chapter" might just end up with lots of overlap for some chapters.

  • If the table is a "significant" object presenting technical / results content, on the other hand, then reproducing it feels less appropriate, because it is taking the material out of its context of presentation. The exception I see here is if it is used as a fragment of a larger comparison, like when an image is presented again in order to allow direct contrast between it and other images.

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