What is Appendix in the Dissertation?
Published byat August 12th, 2021 , Revised On January 9, 2023
Appendix or appendices (plural) is/are used to provide additional data related to your dissertation research project.
An appendix section in dissertation helps you to provide background data related to your topic; present tables, illustrations, and figures that are not directly relevant to your research questions in order to avoid disrupting the flow of the text; to make sure that your dissertation paper’s word count does not go beyond the limit. This article explains what is an appendix in the dissertation.
The Purpose of an Appendix
The main body of the dissertation paper generally contains text that adds weight to your arguments. However, some information that is not directly relevant to the topic of research but might be useful to your audience could be provided under the appendices section.
Items Included in Appendices in Dissertation
An appendix, which is also known as a postscript, includes the following:
Research findings can be presented in several ways. Findings including tables, illustrations and figures that are directly relevant to your research questions or research problem are included in the main body.
However, there are certain text, tables and figures—such as supplemental analyses—that really need to be shown and cannot be ignored, but (due to less significance) can’t be included in the main body as it can disturb the flow of the text.
Such tables and figures are then included in the appendix section. The appendix includes more of the illustrations and findings as a result of data analysis that doesn’t directly address the research question but are essential to be shown.
Also Read: How to Write Dissertation Acknowledgements
Include abbreviations section
If you have utilised a lot of abbreviations or jargon, it might be difficult for lay-person to understand those terms. You can include the abbreviations section or a glossary section in the appendix, which are sometimes positioned at the start of the dissertation.
Tables, figures and/or graphs
Your dissertation may include a lot of tables, figures and/or graphs due to the nature of research. The appendix is the appropriate platform to include all this information, including illustrations.
You can carry on with just one long appendix (if you don’t want to break it into different components and want it to be the only appendix in your dissertation).
On the other hand, you might want to have separate sections in appendices such as questionnaire responses, findings, key phrases and key terms; it would be easier to figure out the information provided in appendices.
If you decide to include multiple sections within your appendices, each appendix should start on a new page with a clearly assigned title and number, for instance, ‘Appendix 7. Survey questions’. It allows for each section of the appendix to be clearly visible to the reader and researcher.
It is also recommended to mention the number and title against each element that is directly linked to the appendix so that the reader will be able to know what you are referring to in the main body.
While numbering tables and figures, make sure that you re-start the numbering for each appendix. This means that each table and figure in a new appendix would be titled Table 1 or Figure 1.
Referring to Appendix in the Main Body of the Dissertation
It is recommended to indicate all appendices at least once in the main body of your dissertation. Make sure that you mention the appendix number (enclosed in brackets, called parenthetical reference) or within text in the main body (called descriptive reference) as highlights for the readers.
It is not mandatory to capitalise it as that typically depends on the researcher’s will. You can also refer to certain elements within the appendix (which can be a specific illustration or table).
Example #1. When you are referring to an entire appendix
Example #2. While you are referring to an appendix component
It would be a good practice to mention Appendix in upper-case, especially when referring to a specific component. However, this is not compulsory and you can choose to use lower-case, i.e., ‘The appendices provided at the end of the documents contain relevant content about the questionnaire responses.’
Which is More Appropriate: Appendices or Appendixes?
Both of these words (spellings) are true in their sense and can be used, but appendices is more appropriate according to APA style. However, it is important to ensure consistency throughout the thesis document. Don’t use alternative words in different sections of the dissertation.
Where to Include Appendices?
The general idea in this regard is to include appendices after the main body, i.e., the reference section. If you opt for this option, you need to continue with the same page number format. You can also submit appendices as a separate document with your dissertation project.
You should write down appendices (including titles and page numbers) in the table of contents.
FAQs about Appendices in Dissertation
Don’t include any irrelevant and/or vague information. It will only distract your readers from understanding your study’s overall purpose, significance, etc.
You can include in it things like figures and/tables that are too lengthy to be included within the dissertation; maps, photographs, raw data like participant score lists, computer programs like SPSS, musical examples like audios etc., interview questions and/or sample questionnaires, etc.
Not really, although you can include PDF documents or weblinks to such documents within your dissertation appendix.
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