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Appendix in Essay: Definition, Writing Tips, and Examples

As a college student, you will be required to complete various academic assignments over the course of your college education. We are, of course, talking about essays, term papers, or perhaps even dissertations. These academic assignments are very complex, and they need to meet very strict standards, not just when it comes to their quality, but also their format. What you will definitely be required to do is write an appendix for your essay or research paper. The writers from our essay writing service prepared everything you need to know about writing an appendix.

Now, every teacher might have different requirements when it comes to writing an appendix, as they might want you to stick to a particular style guide, such as APA, Chicago, or MLA formats. We will cover each one in this article, so that you are prepared to write an essay appendix regardless of the class, topic, or professor. But, before we get into the details of each of those styles, let’s explain what appendices actually are, what should be inside their contents, how you should structure them, and so on.

What Is an Appendix?

The appendix is a section of your essay or research paper that contains content and material which is referenced in the main part of your essay, but is either too detailed or complex to be a part of the actual paper. For example, there you will find stuff like calculations, tables, diagrams, drawings, or raw data that your paper draws from. Also, all the materials that are in your appendix essay need to be summarized first, so they can be referenced in your research paper. If we were to include the contents of the appendix in the paper, it would affect its overall readability and make its structure too complex to follow.

What Should Be Included in the Appendices Section of Your Paper?

Appendices can include a wide variety of content, depending on what kind of appendix essay you are writing and what your field of research is. You can include some of the following in your appendix:

  • Evidence that supports your claims inside the paper, such as raw data
  • Calculations
  • Technical content, such as drawings, diagrams, graphs, tables, statistical data
  • Explanations on how instruments that have been used to gather data work
  • Photographs, drawings, maps, charts
  • Letters, emails, messages, as well as any other form of written communication
  • List of pole/survey/questionarry instruments you have used to collect data, and whose results are listed in the paper
  • Interview transcripts
  • Field notes
  • Specifications and data sheets

You may also include other types of data, as long as they support your arguments in a non-speculative manner.

How to Structure an Appendix?

Even though there are differences in appendix essay formatting because of the different style guides, pretty much every appendix follows the same basic structure:

  • Letter or number of the appendix
  • List of references to your essay body paragraphs
  • Index table
  • Page numbers in case you have more than one appendix
  • Appendix label and title, centered on the page, using normal capitalized fonts
  • The crossover of appendix and body text
  • Footnotes

General Guideline on How to Format Appendices

Now that we have covered all the basic points of the appendix essay and its structure, we can get into the details of the formatting for the most common style guides. We will cover how you can write an appendix using APA, MLA, and Chicago style guides. While they are similar for the most part, they also have some unique characteristics of their own.

How to Write an Appendix in APA Style

You will most likely need to write an appendix in this format at some point. Appendices written in APA style should stick to the following rules:

  • Every appendix should have an “Appendix” heading, followed by a letter
  • It should be placed on top of the appendix title
  • Abstracts
  • They should follow the order in which their information is stated in the paper
  • Appendix should be placed after the reference list
  • Each appendix should have page numbers
  • Each appendix should have its own page, regardless of length
  • Implement footnotes

Also, implement the following rules for APA style:

  • Give each appendix a title
  • Each appendix should focus on a single point as opposed to mixing different ideas
  • In case of multiple appendices, name them Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C…
  • After each reference inside the body, write (see appendix ABC) after the text
  • Always center the title
  • The first paragraph of the appendix should never be indented
  • Use the indent for all remaining paragraphs
  • Use double spacing

How to Write an Appendix in MLA Style

Although APA and MLA styles are very similar, there are a few subtle differences between the two. The key difference is that the MLA style requires you to incorporate the appendix before your list of references. Here are the guidelines for the MLA style:

  • Centered title
  • Use double spacing for the list
  • If you are referencing a known writer, write their name like this: SURNAME, FIRST NAME, YEAR
  • The first line should include all references in the left margin, all the remaining lines should be indented
  • References should be listed in alphabetical order, using the first letter of the author’s surname, for know authors. In case the writer is unknown, use the first letter of the reference title
  • The titles of books, internet sites, recordings, and other complete writings should be in italic
  • Italics should not be used on reference titles that only refer to some part of a source, such as poems, tabloids, sections of PDF, and scholarly papers

All other guidelines are identical to APA style guide rules.

How to Write an Appendix in Chicago Style

Just like MLA, the Chicago style is also very similar to APA, but with a few key differences. Here are the key guidelines for Chicago style:

  • In case of more than one appendix, they are referred to as “appendices”
  • “Times New Roman” font is mandatory
  • Choose 12 as font size
  • Page numbers should be present at the top of every page
  • Each page number should follow this format “ Page 1, 2, 3…”
  • Don’t use a page number on the cover
  • Bibliography should be on the last page, even if there is already some content there
  • It’s possible to incorporate footnotes in the bibliography

Frequently Asked Questions about Appendices in Papers

Now that we have covered all there is to know about the contents, structure, and formatting, we will some of the most frequently asked questions regarding appendices:

Are Appendices Included in the Word Count?

No, appendices are not included in the word count. Only words that are in the main body of your paper count toward the final word count, including information from tables, quotes, lists, and citations. Seeing as appendices are included after the paper itself, along with footnotes and references, they should not be included in the word count. Also, the summarized appendix data is already present in the body of the text, whereas the appendix contains all the raw data.

Where Should I add an Appendix to My Paper?

It depends on the style guide you are using to write your essay or research paper. In case you are writing using the APA style guide, then your appendix should be placed at the end of your paper, after your list of references. As for the MLA style guide, it states that your appendix should appear before the bibliography. Last, but not least, the Chicago style guide requires you to put your appendix before the list of references.

What Title Do I Give to an Appendix?

In case your paper has only one appendix attached to it, then simply name it Appendix. In case you have multiple appendices, then start by titling the first one Appendix A, and then name the remaining ones in alphabetical order. This means that the second appendix should be named Appendix B, the third appendix should be titled Appendix C, and so on. The label should be centered at the top of the page, the title should also be centered on the next line under the label.

How Long Can an Appendix Be?

As far as appendix length is concerned, there are no limits, but you should always keep in mind that someone will be reading your paper, so try not to make it too expansive. On the other hand, you should aim to make it shorter at any, because its role is to provide an in-depth look at the information which you have referenced in your paper. Ask your mentors for advice as far as adding or removing something from the appendix is concerned.

Can I Cite Source in an Appendix?

Yes, if you have a relevant text that you want to cite in the appendix, you can do so. The same citation guidelines apply as they do to your paper. This means using author-date citations as you would in one of the body paragraphs of the essay or research paper. Keep in mind that all the sources which you have cited in the appendix need to be listed in the list of references as well.


And there you have it, everything you need to know when it comes to writing an appendix to your paper, including tips on how to format and structure, as well as tips on how to write it using the most common style guides. Good luck!

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