Appendices - Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper - Research Guides at University of Southern California
The purpose of this guide is to provide advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social sciences.
- Purpose of Guide
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.
Appendices and Figures
are optional blocks of information at the end of the essay. Appendices give the reader additional, but not essential facts and explanations. For example, if you refer to a theory, case history, lesson plan, biography
, or other extra material in the body of your essay, but do not want to explain it in detail, you can put it in an appendix and simply write “see Appendix 1 (2, 3, ...)”.
Tables, Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University.
Your research paper must be complete without the appendices, and it must contain all information including tables, diagrams, and results necessary to understand the research problem.
The key point to remember when including an appendix is that the information is non-essential; if it were removed, the reader would still be able to comprehend the significance, importance, and implications of the research.
If the appendix is something you have written yourself, then you may have included references within it. If so, you just insert the citations in the text of your appendix as normal and include the full references along with all the others in your reference list.
It is appropriate to include appendices to..
- Incorporate material in the body of the work that would make it poorly structured or interrupt the narrative flow,
- Address when the information is too long and detailed to be easily summarized in the body of the paper, and
- 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.
Appendices. Academic Skills Office, University of New England.
All you need to do is signpost it in your text, eg (see Appendix A).
Structure and Writing Style
I. General Points to Consider
When considering whether to include content in an appendix, keep in mind the following points:
- 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.
If the appendix you have created consists entirely of text written by someone else, then put the citation at the bottom and include the full reference in your list.
- 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.
The Study Skills and Access Unit
can provide you with advice and support on a range of study skills including academic writing skills, report writing, presentation skills, maths (statistics, numeracy, SPSS), help with IT skills (including Word, PowerPoint, Excel) and English language skills
This is why non-textual elements should not carry over the sequential numbering of elements in the paper.
- 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].
When deciding whether to put information or images in the main text or at the end of the text, think how you would like to see the information organised if you were the reader.
- 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.
- 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.
People often get confused about how to reference an appendix to their work, but the answer’s easy - you don’t reference the appendix itself.
Never include an appendix that isn’t referred to in the text. All appendices should be summarized in the your paper where it is relevant to describing your findings. Here are some examples of items that can be included in an appendix:
- Correspondence -- if your research included collaborations with others or outreach to others, then correspondence in the form of such as, letters, memorandums, or copies of emails from those you interacted with should be included.
- Interview Transcripts -- in qualitative research, interviewing respondents is often used to gather information.
The full transcript from an interview is important so the reader can read the entire dialog between researcher and respondent.
- Non-textual elements -- if there are a lot of non-textual items, such as, figures, tables, maps, charts, photographs, drawings, or graphs, think about placing examples within the text of the paper but the remainder in an appendix.
- Questionnaires or surveys -- this is a common form of data gathering. Always include the survey instrument or questionnaires in an appendix so the reader understands not only the questions asked but the sequence in which they were asked.
Figures are images (eg. pictures, graphs, diagrams and tables) which you write about in your essay. They can either be put in the text, near the appropriate paragraph, or at the end. You should always refer to the figure when you are writing about it
, for example, “In Figure 1, ...”, “As can be seen in Figure 2, ...”.
Include all variations of the instruments as well if different items were sent to different groups.
- Raw statistical data - this can include any numerical data that is too lengthy to include in charts or tables in its entirety within the text.
- Research instruments -- if you used a camera, or a recorder, or some other device to gather information and it is important for the reader to understand how that device was used, this information can be placed in an appendix.
- Sample calculations - this can include quantitative research formulas or detailed descriptions of how calculations were used to determine relationships and significance.
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 distract the reader from understanding your research study.
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.