The type of material that belongs in the appendix of a dissertation will vary considerably from one research project to another. My only two appendix items were my IRB materials and a list of resources that didn’t work neatly in the reference list, including websites and a pseudonymous directory of my participants.
I’ve edited dissertations that included the study’s complete interview transcripts, all of the study’s tables, and the various letters sent to people and groups requesting interviews or permissions.
Standard Appendix Material
Many if not most universities have resources, usually on the web, that list examples of the types of appendix materials they consider standard, normal, or acceptable. I’ve reviewed a number of universities’ thesis and dissertation help pages to compile the following list of typical appendix materials:*
Review of Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob without Being a Jerk, by Bill Walsh
One of the surprises I encountered when I began not only editing but paying attention to other editors, e.g., through social media and their writing, was that there are celebrity editors. I’m not sure how well known they are outside the editing world—especially since I didn’t know of them until I was in the editing world—but their names are familiar sources to cite in discussions of style and in the ongoing conflict between prescriptivists and descriptivists. Unsurprisingly, they’re editors who write, whether that writing is done in books, in blogs, or just on Twitter.
Shortly before I attended this year’s ACES conference, I had purchased Bill Walsh’s Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob without Being a Jerk but hadn’t started reading it yet, so I was pleased to discover that he was attending the conference himself and giving a presentation the first night. I was going to see a celebrity editor!
The fun part about Yes, I Could Care Less is that you get even more of a look into communications among celebrity editors. The first chapter contextualizes Walsh’s particular level of being particular, in comparison with other people who write about language and its evolution, lack thereof, and right thereof. If I didn’t already know these conversations took place, though, I probably would have been a little lost.
It’s hard to imagine an internet without Wikipedia. It’s my primary source for information in trivia writing, and it works nicely when I need to check on basic info for an editing project.
Wikipedia’s reputation tends to be mixed, though, for the good but also obvious reason that anyone can edit it to say whatever they want. Its reputation doesn’t stop us from using the site as a preliminary source that we may or may not—depending on our present needs—look beyond for corroboration on what we’re looking for.
I would like to discuss productive and unproductive approaches to Wikipedia, taking into account that it is just as unproductive to reject all information found on Wikipedia as it is to accept it unquestioningly. Wikipedia can teach us to be more investigative researchers as well as participants in the diffusion and dissemination of knowledge.
An Informal Source of Knowledge
I only taught undergraduates for three years, but in that short time, I came across numerous students who tried to do as much research on Wikipedia as they could get away with. The longer they’d been in college, of course, the more likely they were to have had a class or two in which professors had forbidden the use of Wikipedia for any purpose, under any circumstances.
I'm Lea, a freelance editor who specializes in academic and nonfiction materials. More info about my services is available throughout this site.