The Appendix (How to Use One in an Essay)
  • 3-minute read
  • 30th March 2017

The Appendix (How to Use One in an Essay)

The appendices in an essay are not typically essential, but they can play an important supporting role. Not everyone knows how to use an appendix in academic writing, though, so we’ve prepared this handy guide.

What Is an Appendix?

An appendix (plural: appendices) is a section at the end of a book or essay containing details that aren’t essential to your work, but which could provide useful context or background material.

In the main body of your essay, you should indicate when you’re referring to an appendix by citing it in parentheses. For example:

The interviews show that most people like ice cream (see Appendix C).

What Should Go in the Appendices?

Appendices can include many things depending on your topic. Common examples of information added to an appendix include:

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  • Raw data from tests
  • Technical figures, graphs or tables
  • Maps, charts or images
  • Letters or emails used in research
  • Sample questionnaires or surveys
  • Full interview transcripts

What these have in common is that you might need to refer to them in an essay without going into too much detail. For example, you might summarise the results of a test in the ‘Results’ section of a dissertation, then include the full data in appendices to ensure clarity.

How to Format Appendices

Exactly how to format appendices can vary between universities, so you should always check your style guide. Generally, though, appendices should:

  • Appear at the end of your document, often after the reference list
  • Be divided into sections depending on topic (e.g. separate sections for questionnaire results and interview transcripts)
  • Have each appendix section start on a new page
  • Be labelled with a letter or number, along with a title clarifying content (Appendix A: Instrument Diagrams, Appendix B: Test Results, etc.)
  • Appear in the table of contents at the beginning of your document
How not to format appendices: as a large pile of unsorted paper on your desk. (Photo: Phil Whitehouse/flickr)
How not to format appendices: as a pile of unsorted paper.
(Photo: Phil Whitehouse/flickr)

Are Appendices Included in the Word Count?

Appendices are not usually included in the word count for an essay. Consequently, you can focus on key information in your work and place extra data in an appendix without worrying about the word count.

However, you should always check your style guide on this. And remember that if you rely on something in your main essay, it needs to be included there: you can’t just shuffle it into the appendices to reduce the word count!

Comments (46)
17th February 2020 at 12:57
Can the information within the appendix be copied and pasted from a source and referenced or does it have to be all in your own words ?
    18th February 2020 at 08:59
    Hi, Ashleigh. There's no reason you can't quote a source in the appendix, but remember that it should only be material that isn't essential to your main argument (e.g. if it was a case of quoting a source at greater length so your reader had it available for reference, that would be fine, but you might need to quote/cite the same source somewhere in the main document to justify including in it the appendix). You may also want to check your style guide for advice on how to cite sources in an appendix (if it doesn't have any specific information, do whatever seems clearest).
19th April 2020 at 12:04
Could you refer to your appendix within the introduction, or is it solely for the main body of an essay?
    20th April 2020 at 11:49
    Hi, Georgia. It should be fine to refer to the appendix in your introduction, but remember to check your style guide if you have one.
29th April 2020 at 00:19
How do you phrase a referral to the appendix in the main body of the essay? Do you state "Refer to Appendix A for further information on ..."
    29th April 2020 at 11:32
    Hi, Kaitlyn. As mentioned in the post, something like 'See Appendix A' or 'Refer to Appendix A' is usually a sufficient reference in the main text of an essay, but you may also want to check your university's style guide (if you have one) for any specific advice.
Natasha Williams
9th May 2020 at 17:40
Hi ya, I was wondering if I could use a user guide as my appendices
    11th May 2020 at 11:13
    Hi, Natasha. If it is a supplementary document (e.g. something used for a case study or a document you created as part of your research), it should be fine to include it as an appendix, but you may want to check your style guide to confirm (if you are using one).
16th May 2020 at 16:03
Hi, could I use it to reference the achievements of a particular theatre company that I am referring to as a recognition of their work? This would solidify my argument.
    18th May 2020 at 13:50
    Hi, Lauren. We cannot offer much guidance without knowing what exactly you intend to include in an appendix (e.g. is it a specific document from the theatre company?) or how you intend to reference it in the main part of your paper, but if your arguments depend on something then you should usually keep it in the main text. You may also want to check your style guide if you have one, as different publishers/universities have different rules on what to include in appendices.
18th June 2020 at 15:06
Hi, if I use charts and figures, then do I have to seperate each figure into e.g Appendix A, Appendix B or just mention as figure 1, figure 2? Thanks.
    18th June 2020 at 15:12
    Hi, May. If you have multiple images in a single appendix, you should add figure captions to clarify which one you mean when referring to them in the text. If the images are important to the point you're making, though, you may want to include them in the main part of your document.
16th December 2020 at 06:48
Does everything you want to put in your appendix need to be in a table. I want to move my appraisal to the appendix
    16th December 2020 at 09:34
    Hi, Sylvia. As we mention in the post, there are lots of things you can include an appendices, not just tables. If your appraisal isn't essential to your work but offers a useful point of reference for something (see the post for more detail), then it should be fine to add it to an appendix.
5th January 2021 at 10:21
Hi — thank you so much for writing this article. It is very helpful! Within my dissertation, I am using various charts and graphs to represent the statistical data I gathered. Do I need to include the raw data and tables etc. in the appendices, or is that not a requirement? Thank you in advance, P
    5th January 2021 at 10:25
    Hi, Peri. There is no universal requirement to include full results in appendices, so you only need to include them if you plan to refer to the full results in your work. That said, it rarely hurts to make the full data available. You may also want to check with your professor to see if they would like you to include the complete data somewhere when you write up your study.
      6th January 2021 at 13:10
      Thank you so much for your reply! That’s very helpful :)
14th January 2021 at 08:44
Does your appendix or people interviewed in an appendix need to be referenced in the bibliography?
    14th January 2021 at 10:02
    Hi, Aaron. No, the appendices are part of your own work, not a separate source (although you should cite any sources in your appendices if you've quoted/paraphrased another published work there).
Kirsty Landragin
18th January 2021 at 12:43
Hi, I have my appendix list but where do I write where I sourced them? is it under the image itself? or is it in the reference list? If so how do I identify the appendix in the reference list?
    19th January 2021 at 09:36
    Hi, Kirsty. I'm afraid I'm not very clear what you mean. The appendices are sections for non-essential information in an essay or book. If you have used an image that isn't your own work in the appendices, you should cite it like you would an image anywhere else in your work (i.e. include a citation with the image and give full publication details in your reference list, in line with your style guide). But you shouldn't have to list the appendices themselves in the reference list.
20th January 2021 at 09:31
Hello, so I am using information gathered from other sources but converting it in to table form to use in my appendices. Does appendices use/choices count towards your grade, as it still shows I have done the research to put it together if you see what I mean? or does it not work like that? Basically, I am using it to show comparison of something but only have a limited amount of words left so can't discuss it in as much depth as I would like in the main body of the report, but I'm hoping the fact I've put the table together still shows I have fulfilled this?
    20th January 2021 at 10:46
    Hi, Dana. I'm afraid that only the person marking your work can really answer this! I'd imagine that including it in your appendices to show that you've done the work is better than not doing so, but if you depend on anything in the table for your main argument you should try to include it in the main paper as well. We have a few tips on concise writing here that might help you reduce the word count elsewhere (if you've not already tried these tips at least), potentially giving you a bit more space to discuss the sources you mention if required:
23rd January 2021 at 22:42
I have several different items that would qualify as an appendix. Should the section where these items appear be titled "Appendices" or "Appendix"
    25th January 2021 at 10:36
    Hi, Ed. If you have more than one appendix (i.e. separate sections covering different materials and each with its own title, such as 'Appendix A', 'Appendix B' and so on), then you can call the overall section 'Appendices'.
16th March 2021 at 20:20
Every time I use information from the interview, (which I will put as an appendix), do I have to cite it throughout my essay?
    17th March 2021 at 08:24
    Hi, Jayne. It may depend on how you are using the information. If you are quoting it within the text and it wouldn't be clear who you're quoting otherwise, a citation would be helpful. But if the context makes it clear who you're referring to, it should be enough to just signal where the full interview can be found the first time you mention it. Having said that, if you're using a specific style guide, it may be worth checking to see if it has any guidance on citing appendices.
18th March 2021 at 17:48
Hi! I have very little words left in my word count, do i have to put "see appendix A" or can I just put "Appendix A"? I know it's only one word, but they add up!! Thank you
    19th March 2021 at 10:09
    Hi, AP. You will need to check your style guide to see how it recommends referring to appendices, but if it doesn't specify a method then just 'Appendix A' should be fine (as long as it is clear in context that you're pointing the reader toward it for more information). If you'd like more advice on how to cut down your word count, moreover, we have some tips here:
1st May 2021 at 11:30
I used an established scale (the ASI) for my research, do I need to include the full scale in the appendix or do i just need to include original material i created for my research?
    3rd May 2021 at 09:46
    Hi, Fran. You could include it if you think it would be a useful point of reference for the reader, but if it's an established scale it shouldn't be entirely necessary (although you might want to cite it somewhere if the scale is based on a particular piece of research).
4th May 2021 at 01:26
Can i upload say a design sketchbook onto a cloud and use the link in the appendices?
    4th May 2021 at 09:20
    Hi, Cly. If it's a single URL, you might be better off just adding it somewhere else in the document (e.g. in a footnote in the relevant part of the document) than adding an appendix just for the link. Although if you're including other material from the sketchbook in the appendix, you can certainly add the link as well.
      4th May 2021 at 12:34
      Thank you, how do i refer to the footnote in the body? The sketchbook is a sizable document with design iterations and justifications
      4th May 2021 at 15:36
      Usually, you'd add a superscript number in the main text, which would then point to a corresponding numbered note at the bottom of the same page. We have some more information on how to add footnotes to a Microsoft Word document here, if that helps:
4th May 2021 at 10:56
Hi, I'm using a few episodes of a tv program as my data set. How do i transcribe the data in the appendices? I'm taking this data to study dialectology so I only need one person's lines in the program. should i include the whole conversation, or only the parts i used for analysis will be enough?
    4th May 2021 at 15:38
    Hi, Jasmin. Unless your institution's style guide says otherwise, anything you're analyzing directly should be included and cited in the main body of your work, though you could include a longer transcript (for context) in an appendix if you think that would be useful for your reader(s).
8th May 2021 at 16:38
what two materials can i include in my appendix of a long essay
    10th May 2021 at 08:55
    Hi, Justice. Unless you have a style guide that specifies what to include in appendices, it really depends on what you need to include to support your arguments.
Daniel Gatsey
8th May 2021 at 17:07
Please are these all the materials you can include in the appendix of a long essay?
    10th May 2021 at 08:58
    Hi, Daniel. Unless you're using a style guide with specific instructions about appendices, they can include whatever supporting materials you've used in your work: the list here includes some common examples, but as long as you include any directly relevant data or information in your main essay, you can then put additional materials in appendices.
24th June 2021 at 03:20
I have 2 tables that need to go in my appendix. I am not sure if I should label the tables separately as Appendix A and Appendix B or put them in a single appendix and label them Table 1 and Table 2. What would be the best way to do this?
    24th June 2021 at 09:04
    Hi, Sharon. Either should be fine, but if they're in a single appendix you'll need to make sure to reference the table number as well as the appendix itself when referring to it in the main text.
Sharon A Davidson
24th June 2021 at 16:54
Thank you for clarifying this. Just to confirm, it would be: (see Appendix, Table 1) in the text?
    24th June 2021 at 17:18
    Hi, Sharon. If you're following a specific style guide, it might be worth checking for rules on how to reference appendices. Otherwise, though, the only requirement is clarity, so '(see Appendix, Table 1)' should be fine if there is only one appendix.
24th June 2021 at 17:55
Thank you so much for your help! The rules are not very specific so I will adopt your suggestion.

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