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An Appendix to a Thesis

Date published by Date updated: December 9, 2016

An appendix (or attachment) is a useful tool for providing additional information in a thesis. You can use appendices to make sure your paper is not too long, avoid disrupting the text with a lot of tables and figures, and add background information on your topic.

The role of an appendix

In the main body of your thesis, it’s important that you provide clear and concise information that supports your argument. However, you’ll often find that you have a lot of further information about your topic that would be useful to share with your readers.

Any detailed information that is not immediately needed to make your point can go in an appendix. This helps to keep your main text focused and not unnecessarily long.

However, bear in mind that readers have to be able to understand your thesis without the appendices. This means it’s important to make sure you don’t move anything that is critical. The appendices only serve to provide additional information.

Items included in appendices

An appendix can be used for different types of information, including the following:

  • Results
    Research results are often presented in different ways, including tables and figures. However, which results should you put in the main body of your thesis and which should go in an appendix? The main results that are relevant to your research question should always appear in the main text. Less significant results, such as detailed descriptions of your sample or supplemental analyses that you undertook (that do not help answer your main question), can be put in an appendix. If you used statistics software, your supervisor my also want you include the outputs of your analysis.
  • Further information on surveys, interviews, etc.
    Written materials related to things such as surveys and interviews can also be put in an appendix. It’s important to include these items in your thesis, so readers can see what you have based your conclusions on – but they generally do not belong in the main body of the text.
  • Copies of relevant letters and forms
    If you use a lot of abbreviations or symbols in your thesis, it can be helpful to create a list of abbreviations . If you utilise many specialised or technical terms, it can also be helpful to create a glossary. Both of these items can be put in an appendix, although they can also be placed at the front of the document.
  • Tables, figures and other graphics
    You may find you have too many tables, figures and other graphics (such as charts and illustrations) to include in the main body of your thesis. If this is the case, any that aren’t critical can go in an appendix.

Formatting an appendix

You can opt to have one long appendix (in which case you would refer to it as just “the Appendix” in your paper) . However, separating components – such as interview transcripts , abbreviations and results – into different appendices makes the information simpler to navigate.

Start each appendix on a new page and assign it both a number and a clear title, such as “Appendix 1. Interviews transcripts”.  This makes it easier for the reader to find the appendix as well as for you to refer to it in your main text.

We also recommend that you number and title the individual elements within each appendix (e.g., tables, figures, and transcripts) to make it clear what you are referring to if you mention something in your main text. The regular rules for tables and figures generally apply. Be sure to re-start the numbering in each appendix (for instance, if you have tables in more than one appendix, each appendix would start with Table 1).

Referring to an appendix

It is important that you refer to each appendix at least once in the main body of your thesis. This can be done by mentioning the appendix and its number either in parentheses or within the main part of a sentence. It is also possible to refer to a particular component of an appendix (such as a specific figure).

Example 1. Referring to an entire appendix
The interview (see Annex 1) revealed that…
Appendix 2 presents the correspondence exchanged with company X.
Example 2. Referring to an appendix component
These results (see Appendix 2, Table 1) show that…
Table 1 in Appendix 2 presents an overview of the correspondence with company X.

It is common to capitalize “Appendix” when referring to a specific annex, but it is not mandatory; you could instead choose to write it in all lowercase. The key is just to make sure that you are consistent throughout your entire thesis. (Just as it is generally important to be consistent in how you capitalize headings and titles in a thesis.)

Please note that lowercase should always be used if you are referring to appendices in general, and not a specific appendix. For instance, “The appendices to this thesis include additional information about both the survey and the interviews.”

Appendices or appendixes

Either spelling can be used in connection with attachments to a written document, but “appendices” is more common (including in APA Style). Consistency is again key.

Where to put appendixes?

The simplest option is to add your appendices after the main body of your text (namely after the reference list). If this is what you do, just continue with the same page numbering. Another option is to put the appendices in a separate document that is delivered with your thesis.

Appendices (with titles and page numbers) should be listed in the table of contents .

Checklist for an appendix
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Article by Kirsten Dingemanse

Kirsten is a Scribbr editor. She has a lot of experience with writing theses and conducting research and would like to share her knowledge with students to help them with their studies.

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