Do You Need an Appendix in Your College Paper?

Do You Need an Appendix in Your Paper?

The debate over whether the human appendix does anything useful rages on. Much less controversial are the appendices you’ll find in a dissertation or thesis. These are definitely helpful!

However, not every college paper needs an appendix. And if you do include one, you need to make sure you do it right. Here, then, is our guide to using appendices in academic documents.

Do You Need an Appendix?

You will only need appendices in your paper if you have a lot of extra material that doesn’t fit in the main body of the document.

For instance, if you have conducted a survey, you might want to focus on certain data in the Results section of your paper. You can then pick and choose the key information, with the rest given in an appendix. This should be pointed to in the main text as follows:

The full data shows that political engagement is increasing among those aged 18-24 years (see Appendix A).

Your reader would then know to look in “Appendix A” for the survey results. If you do not mention an appendix in the main body of your paper, however, it probably doesn’t need to be there.

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What to Put in Appendices

But what should go in appendices? The usual candidates include:

  • Raw test data or results
  • Graphs, charts, and tables
  • Maps and illustrations
  • Letters and emails
  • Questionnaires and survey forms
  • Interview transcripts

The most important thing is that you only include non-essential information in appendices. If you rely upon something in your arguments, make sure to include it in the main body of your work.

How to Format Appendices

The correct format for appendices will depend on your school’s requirements, so make sure to check your style guide or ask your professor. As a general guideline, though, you should:

  • Put appendices after the reference list at the end of your document
  • Use a separate appendix for each type of information
  • Clearly label each appendix with a letter or number, plus a title that tells the reader what it contains (e.g., Appendix A: Survey Results)
  • Include all appendices in the table of contents at the start of your document

If you do all of this, you should have a good set of appendices on your hands!

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