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Integrating graphs and diagrams in written work

In completing Economics assignments, you will need to draw graphs to explain in visual form the effect on economic principles under certain conditions that have been presented to you in your task.

It is important that you integrate these visual representations with the text of your assignment. Not only will this indicate to your lecturer/examiner that your thinking is organised, it will make it easier for them to follow your written text.

You can integrate them by labelling them correctly, and then making a clear link in words for your reader between the graph and the written information.

Look at the section from the sample assignment below, and then answer the following questions about it.

This factor was exogenous, outside the Australian model. The lower price in the United States did not appear on either of the axes. This means a shift of the demand curve to the left, towards the origin, as the quantity demanded has decreased.

The new demand curve (D2) now shows that at the old equilibrium price at point Z, the quantity demanded is actually Q3. At this same price the quantity demanded before the shift was at Qb. As the diagram shows there is now too much supplied, excess supply as at this price.

To adjust to the new equilibrium, there must be an adjustment along both the demand and supply curves. Both curves will have movements along them. The supply curve will have a downward movement along the supply curve meaning less is being supplied at the lower price. As the price falls the quantity demanded will increase until the market reaches a new equilibrium between demand and supply at Q1 and P2 where there is no further tendency to change.

Graph 1: Market for Australian Tertiary Education

Graph: Market for Australian Tertiary Education

1. Is the graph labelled?

Check your answer

2. Could the labelling be improved?

Check your answer

3. Does the student refer to the graph in her written text?

Check your answer

4. Is it clear that she is referring to that particular graph?

Check your answer

5. How could this be improved in the written text about the graph?

Choose the best responses from the examples below by clicking the box:

a) Place the written information about the graph under the graph.
b) Write "See graph" in brackets next to the information about the graph.
c) Write something like:

"Graph 1 above explains the..."


"As can be seen in Graph 1 below..."

Check your answer

Question 1: answer

Yes, it does have a title: "Market for Australian Tertiary Education".

Question 2: answer

Yes. It could be given a number. For example:

Graph 1. Market for Australian Tertiary Education.

This should be placed above or below the graph.

Question 2: answer

Yes. She states "As the diagram shows..."; "The lower price in the United States did not appear on either of the axes..."; "The new demand curve (D2) now shows that...".

Question 4: answer

No. The reader would need to infer this.

Question 5: answer

Options A and C together are the best responses. Option B is an improvement from the use in the sample assignment, but it is not as clear for the reader as A and C.

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