Guide to What is an Appendix in a Research Paper: Structure and Format

What is an Appendix in a Research Paper

Completing academic assignments requires understanding the basic concepts. One of the questions students often ask is, “What is an appendix in a paper?” This part of the text improves a reader's understanding of a research paper without adding excessive length to the final result. It also provides detailed information about your topic without interrupting the flow of your thoughts with too many tables and figures. 

To learn more about writing an appendix in a research paper according to specific formatting styles, such as APA, Chicago, or MLA, read this article from Edubirdie.

What is an appendix in a research paper?

The definition of this term is simple.

An appendix is an academic work section that contains additional information (statistics, references, tables, figures, etc.) that cannot be included in the main text.

This component is usually placed after the reference list at the end of a research paper or dissertation. The purpose of this text component is to provide additional information that may need to be explained fully in the main body. It’s a useful tool for giving context and clarity to the reader about the subject matter analyzed in the paper.

The length of an appendix can vary depending on the type of research, the amount of data collected, and the academic institution’s requirements. Generally, it should be as long as necessary to provide important and relevant information to support arguments and answer the research question. This element should not be too long or contain irrelevant data, as it can distract the audience. Usually, the appendix doesn’t exceed 10-15% of the total research pages.

What type of information does a research paper appendix include? 

An appendix is a means of providing additional data that can further illustrate the research topic. As a result, the information included in an appendix section of a research paper can take various forms. Let’s see them in detail.

  • Surveys

Surveys are frequently used in research methodology and are often included in appendices. To provide readers with a clear understanding of the findings, you should add surveys precisely as given to the respondents, along with their exact answers.

  • Interviews

Whether transcribed or recorded, interviews are typically included in appendices. To ensure transparency, you should include the full list of questions and the corresponding answers.

  • Correspondence

Researchers often add correspondence with collaborators related to the research subject in their papers as an appendix. These can include text messages, emails, transcripts of audio messages, letters, and other forms of communication.

  • Research Tools

Cameras, audio recorders, specialized software, and other research tools should be acknowledged in an appendix to provide readers with insight into the research process.

  • Non-Textual Items

Non-textual items such as tables, graphs, illustrations, figures, charts, or excessively numerous photos should be included as appendices.

  • Statistical Data

Statistical data that is too extensive should be added to the research as an appendix, even if only a portion of the data was used. It’s also necessary to provide complete data.

How to structure an appendix

When you understand a research paper definition learning its writing style and structure is crucial. Maintaining the academic writing style and presenting information concisely and scientifically enhance the work's credibility. It applies to raw information and public discussion results, interview transcripts, summarized evaluation results, and copies of private letters. To ensure a smooth and effective organization of the appendix, it is recommended to learn expert tips on writing a research paper outline and create a separate appendix for each part of the paper. 

Appendices can include tables, text, footnotes, and other supporting items that may be useful for readers, and each item should be titled. Each appendix should be mentioned at least once in the document. Selecting and using reliable sources, figures, and authors is important to create a credible research paper. The same principles apply to the appendices, which may be placed before or after the list of references depending on the requirements and formatting style. 

General rules for completing appendices

When you create an appendix, it's essential to follow particular guidelines. It's also recommended to consult the citation format requirements for details before starting your research work. 

Let’s see some general rules for creating an appendix:

  • A common heading for an appendix is “Appendix 1 or A,” in bold and centered, with a title that describes its content.
  • It's recommended to divide it by a set of data or a topic, which should be indicated in the table of contents.
  • The appendix should be located before or after the list of references and should start on a new page with a page number.
  • Lastly, the appendices should be arranged in sequential order based on the references made in the paper.

If you find it complicated and are thinking, "It's better to pay someone to write my research paper," seeking professional assistance can be particularly helpful, especially when it comes to creating an appendix.

There are three formats for organizing research papers appendices, which your professor may require you to follow. Although similar, they have distinct features and rules that must be followed. Let’s see them in detail. 

Appendix APA format

This format is the most popular at colleges and universities, and it’s usually required for academic papers on Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Education, Sociology, Criminology, and others. Many professors often ask students to produce their assignments in this style. Following the guidelines is important to ensure the structure and information are correct. These are the key points that professors look for when a paper is required to be written in APA format: 

  • Create the heading "Appendix", which should be followed by A, B, C, etc.;
  • Write the appendix title centered under the heading;
  • Follow the order of information stated in the paper;
  • Indicate page numbers;
  • Start each appendix from a new page, even if it’s smaller than the page size;
  • Use double spacing;
  • Write the first paragraph without indentation, while the rest should be indented.
  • Add footnotes;
  • Place the appendix just after the reference list;
  • Include “see Appendix A” after the text to reference an appendix in the body of your thesis. 

You should learn the general guidelines on this format or note them. 

Appendix MLA format

The MLA style is recommended when researching the Humanities, like Philosophy, Languages, and Arts. This format is very similar to the APA format, but a few differences exist. The essential peculiarity is that the MLA appendix should be placed before the list of references. Here are some requirements for MLA format:

  • Insert the appendix after the main document body and before the reference list;
  • Use A, B, and C when writing headings for several appendices;
  • Center the title;
  • Create an appendix following the order of information stated in the research work;
  • Add page numbers for every appendix;
  • Place each appendix on its page, no matter its size;
  • Double-space the list;
  • Use a “hanging indent” format, where the first line is in the left margin, and every subsequent line is indented;
  • Use italics for the titles of Internet sites, complete writings, books, and recordings when you use them in your appendices;
  • Do not use italics for reference titles that only refer to a part of a source, such as short papers, poetry, tabloids, scholarly entries, sections of a PDF document, etc.

Appendix Chicago style

Consider this format if you’re assigned academic papers on History. It’s also required for academic journals and books. Creating research papers in Chicago style is not more difficult than in APA format. These two formats are almost identical. Still, there is a slight difference. Look at the guidelines for writing an appendix in a research paper in Chicago style:

  • Create the title “Appendices” to describe more than one appendix;
  • Use Times New Roman font with a 12-point text size;
  • Place page numbers on the top right of every page labeled as "Page 1, 2, 3," etc.;
  • Do not indicate the number of the page on the front cover;
  • The appendices should be placed before the bibliography, which should come with footnotes and be on a separate page finalizing your research work. 

Feel free to look at samples formatted according to the Chicago style requirements. While completing appendices, you’ll find many useful things to implement in your papers.

How to refer to an appendix?

If you’re looking for an answer to the question, “What is an appendix in a paper?” you’ll definitely find a lot of useful recommendations about how to refer to appendices. It’s necessary to mention every appendix at least once in a document. It can be done by stating the appendix's letter or number within the sentence or in parentheses. You can also refer to a specific component within an appendix. Let’s see an example of an appendix in a research paper.

Example 1. Referring to the whole appendix:

As shown in Appendix A, the participants' demographic information indicates that…

In the table (see Appendix B), you’ll see… 

Example 2. Referring to an appendix component:

These data (see Appendix 3, Table 2) indicate that…

Photo 3 in Appendix 1 presents…

The word "Appendix" should be capitalized when referring to a particular appendix. It’s essential to ensure consistency throughout the paper. You should always use lowercase when you refer to appendices in general. 

Different citation styles have specific formatting requirements and rules for appendices, particularly for APA Style and labeling figures and tables within the appendices. For detailed information, it's important to refer to the guidelines. Understanding what an appendix in a research paper is and how to format it correctly can be challenging, so some students choose to buy thesis paper to ensure all components are professionally compiled.

If you are unsure about the originality of your research paper, it is always a good idea to utilize a "check my paper for plagiarism" tool.


Where to place appendices in a research paper? 

One way to place your appendix for a paper is to insert it after the main text with the citation references. In this case, you can proceed with the next page number. Another approach is to complete a separate document containing the appendices, which can be submitted along with your dissertation. It's important to remember that all appendices should be indicated in the table of contents of your thesis.

Does the appendix mean the same as references? 

The appendix and references are different. An appendix is an extra material that can include tables, diagrams, or graphs that support the main text, while references are a list of sources cited or consulted in the main text. Both can be used to provide further information but serve different purposes and contain different types of information.

Is it possible to cite sources in an appendix? 

Yes, using APA in-text citations in your appendix is acceptable if it's relevant. You should use an author-date citation format, the same way you do it in the main text. Remember to include all the cited sources in your reference list in your appendices. There is no need to complete an individual reference list for your appendices.

Is it appendices or appendixes? 

Both "appendices" and "appendixes" are accepted plural forms of the word “appendix”. Still, "appendices" is the more commonly used plural form in academic writing. It’s also the preferred form in APA style. Using the same spelling throughout the whole document is essential.

Should I number my appendices in APA style?  

In an APA guide about how to write an appendix for a research paper, there is a recommendation to label multiple appendices in sequential order using uppercase letters, such as “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” etc. Still, if you only have one appendix, it should be titled simply as "Appendix" and mentioned as such in the document (for example, “see Appendix”).

What title to give to an appendix?     

The typical title for an appendix is "Appendix A" or "Appendix 1," which should be centered and written in bold. Following the appendix number, a descriptive heading outlining the appendix content should be provided.

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