How to write an appendix

tools used when learning how to write an appending

An appendix (plural is "appendices") is a section added to the end of a paper. It includes material that expands and explains the subject matter. Each appendix should cover a distinct aspect of your subject. Follow the steps below and you’ll learn how to write an appendix and its importance to your writing.

What an appendix is

An appendix is an optional part of a paper. Appendices provide additional material to help clarify concepts for your reader. They are included at the end so the material does not detract from the flow of ideas presented in the paper.

If you're writing a paper for a a school assignment, check with your teacher for policies regarding use of an appendix in your paper. Appendices are not generally included in the page count of a paper.

A very short paper should not include an appendix. If your paper requires a table of contents, the appendices must be listed.

What to include in an appendix

Numerous items are appropriate for inclusion in the appendix. The nature of your paper will determine what is appropriate. Consult with your teacher for specific requirements. The following are some examples of material that might be included

  • Copy of questionnaire or survey
  • Copies of personal correspondence
  • Interview questions
  • Transcripts of interviews
  • Large graphs
  • Maps
  • Illustrations or photographs
  • Explanation of technical information or formulas
  • Diagrams
  • Raw data

Rationale for inclusion

If you have conducted a survey or questionnaire, it is customary to include a blank copy of the material you used. It is not necessary to include filled-in forms from the participants. If you include an abbreviated chart or table in the body of your paper, refer to it as a Figure, followed by an Arabic number (e.g. Figure 4). A more complete version may be included in the appendix.
Your interpretations of data or statistical claims can be reinforced by appending the raw data. Then your reader can examine the data for him- or herself. Material in the appendices can be useful to provide verification for your statements.

How to format

Each appendix should have an identifying title. Paginate each one separately. Each separate appendix will begin with the number “1.” The number “1” will appear centered at the bottom of the page. Numbers 2 and following should be placed at the top right corner of the page, within the margins. If you are using a photocopied material, you are allowed to handwrite the numbers.

Label using capital letters. The first appendix will be Appendix A. Check to see whether your instructor prefers all upper case or lower case with only the first letter capitalized for the word “APPENDIX.” If you only have one object to append, refer to it as “Appendix.” Do not use letters if this is the case. The title (e.g. APPENDIX B) will be centered. Each appendix begins on a separate page.

Outside sources may be referred to in an appendix, but you should never use direct quotes. Appendices may precede or follow the References list.

Referring to the appendices

If you want your readers to refer to your appendices, you must give them a reason. You should refer to each appendix in the body of your paper. Appendices are arranged in the order in which they are referred to in the body of your paper.

If you have summarized data in the body of your paper, you may want to refer the reader to the appropriate appendix where he or she can study the raw data.

A useful addition

An appendix can be a valuable addition to your paper. It will give additional support and/or clarification to the points you make in the paper. If you learn how to write an appendix you can add a touch of professionalism to your writing. Be sure to add appendices for the right reasons. Don’t use them to expand the length of your paper; the appendices do not ordinarily add to the page count of your paper.