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How to Write a Dissertation Appendix

How to Write a Dissertation Appendix

How to Write a Dissertation Appendix
Table of Content

Before commencing with putting together an appendix for dissertation, it is good to know what actually an appendix is and what role does it play. When you conduct a long and elaborative academic research comprising of a vast array of information, you need a location in your research paper to place certain items which can otherwise clutter your dissertation. This is when you use appendix. Additional or supplementary information is placed here.

What is an appendix?

It is a place where all the additional materials, which do not seem to be appropriate in the text body are kept. This piece is added at the end of dissertation after the reference section.

This section is meant for supplementary information which helps the readers in understanding the over and all research work. Experts are of the view that this information is not so essential and even it is omitted from the paper the overall paper would still make sense.

Role of Appendix:

However, do not think appendix is a dumpster of your thesis. The information given here needs to be relevant and hence you should be aware of how to write appendix of your dissertation. You put a good amount of hard work in the main body of your dissertation. But, when you end it you began to wonder where to place a lot of other useful information which can be useful to the readers. 

A good and detailed amount of information that is not required immediately but can prove to be useful goes in appendix. This keeps the entire research work more focused. A wide variety of data like diagrams, charts, maps, tables, figures, pictures, questionnaires, content forms, pictures or formulas can be found here. This supplementary data can hamper the flow of thesis and distract the readers.

Before you begin to write it you should know the possible items to be included here.

Items to be Included in Appendix:

Information on interviews, surveys etc.:

There can be a wide variety of written materials like interviews, surveys and other things that can be put in an appendix. These are to be included in the research work so that readers are able to see what your research is based on. However, these items do not belong to the main body of text and hence they are to be placed in appendix.

Research Results:

These are presented in a number ways which can be figures or tables or charts etc. But, how would you decide that which results would you put in the main body of your work and which one would go in appendix. So, find out the materials that are directly related to your research work and that would go in the main text. Lesser significant results or analyses can be places in appendix.

If any statistics software has been used, it should also be included here.

Tables, graphics and other figures:

When you think that you have too many figures, tables, graphics and illustrations etc, you can choose to include anything that is not critical for appendix.

Abbreviations, symbols etc.:

If you have used a lot of symbols and abbreviations in the work or technical terms, you can choose to put them in a glossary and can place it in the document. So, your appendix is a sort of glossary also.

How long it should be?

There is no specific length or word count so you can include all that which you think unnecessary for your thesis without worrying about the word-count. Though it is good to keep its content to a reasonable length and include only those items that you think will be valuable for the readers.

You need to remember that even though supplementary but appendix is an important part of your research work as it will strengthen your argument or case. It is a critical tool that works as an argument and can be a good point of reference.

It should be arranged in a Coherent Manner:

If you are preparing your research work, it is good to follow a methodology in the format. Organize your supplementary information and organize the same coherently in exact chronological order that they have appeared in the thesis.

If you have different types of information do not mess up the section. Catalogue that information into a separate appendix. You can have images, audio clips, links and a wide variety of different types of stuff, just have a look and arrange them in a coherent way.

Each appendix of your work should have a different page with the name of appendix capitalized and placed in the center right at the top margin. All the appendices have a name so that they can be easily distinguished. If you have just one all you need to do is to put a title with “Appendix” and this is enough. When there are multiple, they can be named as “Appendix 1”, “Appendix 2”  and so on…

Appendices in-text is to be cited according to the letter assigned this makes it easy for the readers to locate the materials that you are referring to.

How to Format Appendices?

Appendices are where presentation and organizations skills can be applied. This portion is to be presented tidily with logic. It is a colorful and sometimes proves to be an engaging addition to any academic writing.

Exactly how you format your appendices varies so it is good to check your style guide before formatting it. It appears at the end after the reference list.

  • It is to be divided into sections depending on the topic and there should be separate sections for transcription of interview and questionnaire results etc.
  • Each of the appendix section should begin on a new page.
  • Labeling should begin either with a number or a letter along with a title clarifying the content For instance, you can write Appendix A: for charts and graphs, Appendix B: for questionnaires and so on.
  • It is to be mentioned in the table of contents written in the beginning of the document.
  • There are some who go in for writing just one long and elaborative appendix. But, this is a wrong approach as there are a number of separating components like interviews, abbreviations, results and transcriptions so the information gets simpler to navigate.
  • Each appendix should begin on a new page and a clear title is to be assigned to each of them for the purpose of easy understanding. For instance, you can write “Appendix A for “Interview transcriptions.” This will put you at ease in referring the same in the main text.

Number and titles are used for labeling the individual items in the appendix like transcriptions, figures and tables etc. There are rules for tables and figures. If you have tables in more than one appendix each appendix should start with Table  1.

Referring to Appendix:

Each appendix done by you has to appear once in the main body of thesis at least. Appendix and its number are to be mentioned in parentheses or in the main part of the sentence. Make appendix such that its particular component can also be referred if needed.

Like this…..

The graph (see Appendix A) is the clear manifestation….

And for referring a particular part or portion in appendix

The interview (see Appendix B, Table 1) shows that…..

Normally, you need to capitalize “Appendix” when you are referring to any specific appendix. However, this is not mandatory. You can write the same in lower case as well. Whatever case you should use, you should be consistent in using the same throughout. You need to remember that a lower case will be used if you are referring to appendices and not any particular appendix. But, most of the people including those who write their work in APA style use appendices.

Where to Place Appendices?

Most of the people place appendices just after the main body of thesis and after the list of reference. Appendices can also be placed in a separate document also to be submitted along with the paper.

A Quick Checklist to Follow:

Though glossary can be a part of appendix but it is not appendix. You need to determine what all should be placed in an appendix.

  • There can be a lot of supplementary or indirectly related material about your research topic. You need to decide which matter should be there in appendix.
  • Start it on a new page.
  • Make different sections for different types of materials like graphs, charts, interviews and a whatever supplementary content you have used. After that, make appendices and number them appropriately with titles.
  • Each appendix should contain a title and a sub-title if needed.
  • The section is referred at least once in the main body and hence you need to make sure that it is clearly formatted and easy to trace.
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