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Copy of Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Appendices

Definition

An appendix contains supplementary material that is not an essential part of the text itself but which may be helpful in providing a more comprehensive understanding of the research problem and/or it is information which is too cumbersome to be included in the body of the paper. A separate appendix should be used for each distinct topic or set of data and always have a title descriptive of its contents.

Importance of...

Your research paper must be complete without the appendices, and it must contain all information including tables, diagrams, and results necessary to address the research problem. The key point to remember when you are writing an appendix is that the information is non-essential; if it were removed, the study would still be understandable to the reader.

It is appropriate to include appendices...

  • When the incorporation of material in the body of the work would make it poorly structured
  • When the information is too long and detailed to be easily summarized in the body of the paper, and
  • To ensure inclusion of helpful, supporting, or essential material that would otherwise clutter or break up the narrative flow of the paper, or it would be distracting to the reader.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  General Points to Consider

When considering whether to include content in an appendix, keep in mind the following points:

  1. It is usually good practice to include your raw data in an appendix, laying it out in a clear format so the reader can re-check your results. Another option if you have a large amount of raw data is to consider placing it online and note this as the appendix to your research paper.
  2. Any tables and figures included in the appendix should be numbered as a separate sequence from the main paper. Remember that appendices contain non-essential information that, if removed, would not diminish a reader's understanding of the overall research problem being investigated. This is why non-textual elements should not carry over the sequential numbering of elements in the paper.
  3. If you have more than three appendices, consider listing them on a separate page at the beginning of your paper. This will help the reader know before reading the paper what information is included in the appendices [always list the appendix or appendices in a table of contents].
  4. The appendix can be a good place to put maps, photographs, diagrams, and other non-textual elements, if you feel that it will help the reader to understand the content of your paper, while keeping in mind the point that the paper should be understandable without them.
  5. An appendix should be streamlined and not loaded with a lot information. If you have a very long and complex appendix, it is a good idea to break it down into separate appendices, allowing the reader to find relevant information quickly.


II.  Contents

Appendices may include some of the following, all of which should be referred to or summarized in the text of your paper:

  • Supporting evidence [e.g. raw data]
  • Contributory facts or specialized data [raw data appear in the appendix, but with summarized data appearing in the body of the text].
  • Sample calculations
  • Technical figures, graphs, tables, statistics
  • Detailed description of research instruments
  • Maps, charts, photographs, drawings
  • Letters, emails, and other copies of correspondance
  • Questionnaire/survey instruments, with the results appearing in the text
  • Interview protocols and complete transcripts of interviews
  • Complete field notes from observations
  • Specification or data sheets

NOTE:  Do not include vague or irrelevant information in an appendix; this additional information will not help the reader’s overall understanding and interpretation of your research and may only succeed in distracting the reader from understanding your research study.



III.  Format

Here are some general guideline on how to format appendices, but consult the writing style guide [e.g., APA] your professor wants you to use, if needed:

  • Appendices may precede or follow your list of references.
  • Each appendix begins on a new page.
  • The order they are presented is dictated by the order they are mentioned in the text of your research paper.
  • The heading should be "Appendix," followed by a letter or number [e.g., "Appendix A" or "Appendix 1"], centered and written in bold type.
  • Appendices must be listed in the table of contents [if used].
  • The page number(s) of the appendix/appendices will continue on with the numbering from the last page of the text.

Appendices. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Tables, Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Lunsford, Andrea A. and Robert Connors. The St. Martin's Handbook. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.