An appendix is an integral part of every dissertation paper, serving as supplementary material that enhances and supports the research study. However, only a few people understand what the section is, where it must be placed, and why it must be included in a dissertation. Therefore, while not typically central to the dissertation’s argument, the appendix adds valuable context and transparency to the academic work. This post will cover everything there is to know about a dissertation appendix, from its definition and purpose to the components and format.
Definition: Dissertation appendix
A dissertation appendix (plural –appendices) is an index at the end of a dissertation that provides additional information related to the dissertation paper. The section helps academic writers present background information related to the dissertation, but doesn’t directly answer the research question. These can include tables, illustrations and other graphics.
Purpose of a dissertation appendix
The primary purpose of a dissertation appendix is to help keep your dissertation paper organized and within the required word limit. It contains any additional information that isn’t directly relevant to the research topic.
Typically, texts that strengthen your arguments appear in your dissertation paper’s main body. However, there is additional information that isn’t directly beneficial to your research but might be helpful to your readers. That is where a dissertation appendix comes in.
Although they provide additional information, your audience should be able to understand the contents of your dissertation paper even without looking at the dissertation appendix. So, ensure you include all important texts in the main body.
Dissertation appendix: Components
A dissertation appendix can include different types of information, such as:
Research results can be presented in various ways, including tables and figures. However, not all of these findings need to appear in the main body of your dissertation. Only results that are essential in answering the research topic should be included in the paper. Additional results (less significant findings), such as raw data and supplemental analyses, should go into the dissertation appendix.
Besides supplementary results, additional information related to surveys and interviews can be included in a dissertation appendix. These can include types of interviews, interview transcripts, survey questions, and details of questionnaires. Although these details are not critical to answering your research question, including them in the dissertation appendix gives credibility to your research.
Copies of relevant forms
It is essential to include a list of abbreviations and acronyms and a glossary in the appendix if your dissertation paper contains many words that your audience might not recognize. This helps enhance readability and minimize confusion for readers. Your list of abbreviations and acronyms, and glossary should appear after the table of contents section.
Figures, tables, graphics
You can also include tables, figures, illustrations, and other graphics in the dissertation appendix if your research contains a lot of them.
The appendix is the appropriate platform to include less important ones. Use tables and figures that support your research question but cannot be included in the main body.
Dissertation appendix: Format
There is no restriction to how you can format your dissertation appendix. You can opt to have one long appendix if you don’t feel the need to break it into smaller sections with different components. However, it might be a good idea to separate the components (such as interview transcripts and supplementary results) into various appendices to enhance readability.
If you choose to have multiple appendices in your dissertation, always start each appendix on a new page. Additionally, ensure you assign each page a number or letter. For instance, you can use ‘Appendix 2 – Interview Transcripts.’ Giving a unique identifier (number and title of each element) to each appendix makes it easier for the reader to navigate through the information and for you to refer to it in the main dissertation body.
When numbering tables and figures in multiple appendices, you should reset the numbering as you move to the next appendix (next page). For instance, if your ‘Appendix 1 –Raw Data’ has two tables and ‘Appendix 2 – Interview Transcripts’ has one table, the table in ‘Appendix 2’ should be ‘Table 1’ and not ‘Table 3’.
Referring to a dissertation appendix
It is crucial to refer to each dissertation appendix at least once when crafting the dissertation’s main body. That helps justify the inclusion of appendices in your study.
There are two primary ways you can refer to a dissertation appendix in the main body:
- Refer to an entire appendix
- Refer to an appendix component
There are two ways you can refer to an appendix component:
- Refer to specific figures or tables in brackets (parenthetical reference). For example, “The results (refer to Table 1 Appendix 3) indicate a slight decline in the number of new infections”.
- Include the reference in a sentence within the main body (descriptive reference). For example, “As shown in Table 1 of Appendix 3, there is a slight decline in the number of new infections”.
If your paper has one long dissertation appendix, it is good practice to refer to its components in uppercase, but it is not mandatory. However, it is important to maintain consistency throughout your entire paper, the same way you capitalize your headings and titles in academic work.
Although you are free to choose what case to use, you should always use lower-case when referring to appendices in general.
Dissertation Appendix: Checklist
- Each dissertation appendix starts on a fresh page
- My appendices contain relevant information, but they are not essential in answering my research question
- I have referred to each of my appendices at least once in the main body
- The content of my appendices (tables and figures) are clearly labelled
- My appendices are easy to understand and refer to
A dissertation appendix is a section of your dissertation that you use to provide additional data related to your main study but is not essential to answering the primary research question.
Your appendix should contain additional information relevant to the dissertation but not directly important to answering your main questions. These can include supplementary results, tables, interview questions and transcripts.
If you have a lot of additional information, it is important to have an appendix in your dissertation. Appendices help provide readers with details that support your research without breaking the flow of the main body.
Yes. Your dissertation paper can have more than one appendix. Ensure you properly label each appendix (Appendix A or Appendix 1) if your paper has multiple appendices.
Appendices and appendixes are both correct plurals for the term appendix. However, many scholars prefer using ‘appendices’ over ‘appendixes.’