I am writing on my thesis, containing a lot of implementations. Due to readability, I locate all my source code in the Appendix. Is there a style guide on how to name these sections in the Appendix?

Currently, my approach is to structure them like this:

 A. General Methods   
   A.1. def foo   
   A.2. def bar  
 B. Specific Methods 
   B.1. def ...
 C. Further Methods

However, this looks kinda strange in my ToC, is there any style guide on how to name sections only containing source code?

  • Welcome to Writing.SE yoko, glad you found us. Please check out our tour and help center. My question for you is, is there a style guide that you're using for the body of your thesis?
    – Cyn
    Sep 2, 2019 at 17:28
  • Well, my department only states "choose what you like, but keep it consistent.". I went for the 'Chicago Manual of Style', yet there is no clear structure on how to handle this.
    – yoko
    Sep 2, 2019 at 17:48
  • The original "Chicago manual" was crafted before computers existed, and the retrofits since then have added little towards what you're asking for. Look to journals in your field.
    – Rrr
    Sep 2, 2019 at 18:00

2 Answers 2


Sometimes the department (or school of graduate studies at you institution) will have a very specific set of style guidelines for theses -- check there first. After that, go to your institution's library and have a look at previous theses in your discipline. If there is no specific guidance there, refer to the style guides for the journals in your discipline. Also consider talking with the post-docs and researchers in your supervisor's group. Should all that fail, hash-out a structure yourself, then bring all the leg-work you've done to your supervisor, and ask for their opinion.

(PS: Congrats on your approaching submission!)


Where I did my PhD there were no relevant guidelines; such a level of detail in submission guidelines is uncommon in the UK. I stuck to my usual rule of academic writing: be clear and help the reader. Each main piece of code was a section (in one code-appendix) with a descriptive title that appeared in the ToC:

Appendix A Analysis source code
  A.1 Peak picking code
  A.2 Thermal simulation spatial averaging code
  A.3 EL hotspot image analysis code

Coming up with short captions (to go in lists of figures, tables, etc.) is something you're likely to be doing anyway as you polish the thesis.

As an aside, I suggest you introduce each bit of code in your appendices (however well it's described in the body, and however well it's commented inline) as you would caption a figure so it makes sense on its own. You've probably already done this.

  • Posting a link to my thesis here is a sure way to find writing errors!
    – Chris H
    Sep 3, 2019 at 13:40
  • 1
    Welcome to Writing.SE Chris, glad you found us. Please check out our tour and help center. Thanks for sharing your experiences to make a solid first post.
    – Cyn
    Sep 3, 2019 at 14:33

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