Have the courage to prune extraneous material

In the process of conducting research we tend to construct rough tables to consolidate data or to summarize relevant information. The urge can be overwhelming to import these tables wholesale into the document. Resist this temptation. The fact that a table has been a useful organizational tool is not sufficient justification for its automatic inclusion in the text. Nor should numerical data be included solely because they were collected. Every study involves a certain amount of effort spent in gathering data that later turn out not to be needed. Careful planning can minimize this fact, but never eliminate it entirely.

At some point between the first draft and the final typescript, make a concerted effort to decide which tables might be combined, which tables would be better replaced by other illustrative materials, and which tables should be discarded in favor of summarizing the data in the text.

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