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The most exciting moments in lab meetings or meetings with your mentors will come when you share the first plots from your analyses.  Make the most of this opportunity!  If you can spend time talking about the findings and more advanced next steps - rather than trying to explain the figure - you will make more forward progress, and avoid frustration on everyone's part.  

Some general guidance:

  • This data visualization guide from Duke libraries is useful.
  • Remember that it is important to show both the data and the fit of the model.  Showing just the data without the fit, or the fit without the data, is far less effective.
  • When creating plots, make sure axes are clearly marked so that viewer can make sense of the plot.  This means having labels that people can read.  It also means having labels that someone can understand; use


  • short phrases (with units) that describes the axis, rather than just the variable name from your R workspace.  Include a legend if needed, either on the figure or in a text-based figure legend.
  • More to come... please provide comments if you have suggested other sources!