I am not sure about some side-topics related to my thesis. During the development of the results I have to rely on some other mehods which are not the main topic of the thesis but since I used them to derive some approximation I then implement in the analysis I think it is useful to explain how this methods works so any reader can understand what I did and also because I spent time learning them.

I was thinking to put these extra-info in an Appendix not to cause confusion in the main topic, but I am afraid they will be considered as off-topics.

  • As with so many of these things, reading your university rules and talking to your supervisor would help. Think about how your work will fit the requirements. Also, I'm curious how many people you think will read your thesis.
    – Jessica B
    Jan 29, 2015 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


This answer relates to my field (business) and it might be different for other fields.

The guideline I have always followed, and recommend to all of my students, is that you should consider the overall "flow" of the document. That is, if you are discussing the results and what is important is the results, then focus on the results. Of course, the methodology would be included but any kind of back-story would not belong in the text because it would distract from what you are really trying to communicate. You want to avoid distraction to keep the reader's mind on topic and that is why we have appendixes.

The back-story may, or may not, belong in the appendix. You should not assume that anything that does not go in the body goes in the appendix. Some information simply does not belong there at all (for example, your musings about the secret connections between Plato's early work and the shape of a doughnut).

The only things which should appear in the appendix are things which are referenced in the main text. If there was no easy place to refer to it in the main text, that is a sign that you should not put it in the appendix either.


If the methods that you are considering including in the appendix were necessary to arrive at your final results, then they certainly aren't "off topic". Without knowing your field of study or your topic of research, it's hard to give a more direct answer than that.

I'm in the social sciences, and we often include mathematical proofs in our appendices in order to save space in the main text (as well as not distract from the substance). Nonetheless, given the importance of transparency, we include our proofs for review by others.

  • Yes this is the idea: I applied a method to linearize some equations and I put only the results in the main text whereas all the step of the calculations with the method explanation (assumptions and starting formulation of the problem) should go in the appendix
    – Rhei
    Jan 29, 2015 at 16:26

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