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How to Add Appendices to an Essay


Appendices will allow you to include supplemental information that is related, but not necessarily integral, to the primary text of your essay. The Purdue Online Writing Lab advises writers to include an appendix, or several appendices, if the information imparted is too complex to fit in a footnote. Items included in the appendices may include interview transcripts, a description of research instruments, survey texts, data tables, vocabulary lists, graphs or sample calculations.

Edit and Excise

While writing the primary text of your essay, pay attention to the flow of your sentences and the relevance of each new piece of data. If you find yourself focusing on one somewhat-related aspect of your argument for several paragraphs, or even several pages, you may wish to consider relocating it to the appendices, particularly if the section puts your essay over the maximum word count.

Note that any tables or other graphics will typically belong in the appendices. They may be accompanied by explanatory paragraphs or stand on their own, depending on their content.

Reduce and Reword

Clearly, tables and equations won't need a lot of work, but if you're excising large chunks of text, you'll likely need to edit them a bit before putting them in the appendices. Eliminate or reword any transitions at the beginning and end of the section. If possible, cut down on the word count by eliminating extraneous information and focusing on a single, relevant topic for each appendix.

Format Your Findings

Appendices should appear immediately before or immediately after your reference list. Maintain the same spacing, font and pagination formatting from the rest of the essay. The University of New England notes that the order of the appendices "is dictated by the order they are mentioned in the text of the report," so double-check your essay before finalizing the appendix placement. Title each new appendix as "Appendix 1" and so on, with each appendix beginning on a separate page. If necessary, modify the graphics to fit within the margins and give each a short, descriptive title.

Complete the Table of Contents

When you're certain your essay is complete, check the pagination in your appendices and indicate them in your table of contents. You should also reference the appendices directly in the body of the essay rather than in the footnotes. The references should be concise and topical, including all necessary data. For example, "The full transcript of this interview is included in Appendix 3 (on page 32)" or "Other calculations appear in Appendix 4 (on page 18)."

About the Author

Since 2003, Momi Awana's writing has been featured in "The Hawaii Independent," "Tradewinds" and "Eternal Portraits." She served as a communications specialist at the Hawaii State Legislature and currently teaches writing classes at her library. Awana holds a Master of Arts in English from University of Hawaii, Mānoa.

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