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When and Where to Use an Appendix in an Assignment, Thesis or Dissertation

Where to use an appendix in my assignment

Table of Contents

Introduction - The Appendix, What is it?

An appendix is a section at the end of a paper, dissertation, assignment, thesis, assignment, report, or book that contains supplementary material.

The correct plural form of appendix is appendices. It’s great for when you need to provide extra explanation or background information. The point of these sections is to provide the reader with more information on the topic at hand.

In the main body of your document, you should always state what you’re referring to or discussing in an appendix by quoting it. For example:

From the surveys conducted 85%, of adults prefer to holiday abroad (see Appendix A).

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What should be included in the Appendices and What's Their Purpose?

Dependant on your topic, appendices can include many different types of information. Most commonly this includes but is not limited to:

  • Photographs, pictures, maps
  • Raw data from tests, interviews, surveys, polls, questionnaires
  • Interview questions
  • Research
  • Graphs, tables
  • Technical or financial data / figures
  • Full interview transcripts
  • Letters, emails used to gather information

The shared theme in all of the above examples is that you may need to refer to the data in an essay or document without going into much of the detail. 

For instance, you can summarise the outcome of the results from a survey in the ‘results’ section of an essay, then include the full data such as the questions and answers of everyone interviewed in appendices section as verification.

Appendices are useful for sharing information that isn’t essential to the main argument or that doesn’t pertain directly to the topic at hand.

Appendices are an important part of your dissertation, but they shouldn’t be used as an excuse to pad out your paper with extraneous material. Keep your dissertation short, sweet, and to the point if you want to impress your audience.

If you’ve done the kind of thorough research you need to for this kind of piece, however, you’ll likely have plenty of additional information you want to share with the reader, appendices are useful for such purposes. Dissertation appendices are the proper place for any material that isn’t essential to the main argument or that doesn’t pertain directly to the topic being studied.

Appendices: How to Format Them

Always check your establishment’s style guide as it can differ between colleges, universities and higher education institutions. As a general rule when formatting appendices you should ensure they:

  • Occur at the end of an essay or document, in most cases after the reference list.
  • Appear in the table of contents at the beginning of your essay or document.
  • Are organised in to sections depending on subject for example; financial data, photographs, raw data and questionnaires.
  • Are clearly labelled and each appendix section starts on a new page using either a number or letter, along with a title identifying subject matters.
    • e.g., Appendix 1: Food Group Diagrams, Appendix 2: Test Results.

Does the Word Count Include the Appendices?

Typically, appendices aren’t included in the word count for either an essay or document, but it is worth again just clarifying in your establishments style guide to make sure.

Any supporting and additional material is placed in the appendix, so the main purpose of the essay can focus on conveying key information on the subject matter whilst keeping within the specified work count limit.

But is really important to remember any material placed in the appendix must be referred to and referenced within the main document! Appendices should not be used to omit amounts of text to help reduce the word count.

We hope you have found our guide to appendices helpful and useful.

To Conclude:

  • An appendix is a section at the end of an essay, document, or book that contains supplementary information that is not essential to the argument.
  • Always quote the appendix in the main body of your document to make it clear what you are referring to or discussing there.
  • Appendices may contain a wide variety of materials, depending on the nature of the work being appended.
  • Should be included in the essay or report’s table of contents.
  • Appendices are usually not counted towards the total number of words in an essay or document, but you should double-check this with your institution’s style guide to be sure.

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