Students don’t like writing tasks, especially essays, because they often contain too many unclear requirements. Like, for instance, what is an appendix in an essay exactly? What role does it play? Which information should you include in it? And how to format an appendix?

No worries, we have all the answers in our guide. Let’s begin!

What is an Appendix?

So, what is an appendix in writing?

An appendix is an additional section of an essay, a research paper, or any other academic writing task that contains supplementary information to support the topic.

Usually, the information included in the appendix is too voluminous to be added to the essay itself.

Now, with the definition clear, let’s talk more about the purpose of an appendix.

What is the Purpose of an Appendix?

An appendix in essay writing plays three roles:

  • To provide extra material that you can’t fit in the body of the essay.
  • To explain a particular part of an essay more.
  • To keep the word count of your essay within required limits but still make it more informative by adding supplementary information.

So, based on these roles, your approach to appendix essay writing will differ. For instance, if you want to share extra information from the survey you conducted, you can add it to the appendix and mention in the appropriate section within the body of your essay that the reader should check out the appendix under a particular number (e.g., Appendix 1).

Now, let’s see what kinds of information you can add there.

What Types of Information Does an Appendix Include?

The type of data you include during appendix essay writing will depend on the nature of the task. For example, if you’re writing a comparative essay, you might need to add statistics or polls.

To help you navigate your options, here’s the list of all possible appendices that can be added to a college essay (and other papers, too). You can also check out examples of essays with appendixes by visiting our college paper writing service.

Option #1: Maps and visuals

Essays on the topics of history often require maps to show the locations of major historical events. You may also need to add other visuals, such as illustrations. If the visuals do not belong to you, make sure to credit them properly.

Option #2: Letters

If you’re writing an essay about an author and life events that impacted some of their works, it could be a good idea to add images of letters to illustrate the author’s opinions and experience firsthand. Here, also make sure to credit the letter, mention who the recipient was, and explain to which parts the reader should pay attention.

Option #3: Raw data

Unstructured data often appears in appendices to essays that describe original research. Professors usually require unedited data if your essay is the introductory piece to bigger research. However, raw data still needs systematization - the reader should be able to draw specific conclusions from it.

Option #4: Statistical graphs and charts

Charts are among the most common information types that appear in an essay appendix. You can use statistical graphs of your own making or use a piece from a different resource, but make sure to credit it.

Option #5: Surveys and polls

Oftentimes, argumentative and persuasive essays will require conducting a survey or a poll to represent two conflicting points of view. You can add the survey or poll in the appendix, but it’s advisable to provide an explanatory note, too.

Option #6: Transcripts

Finally, an appendix can include a transcript of anything - a poll, a survey, an interview, etc. Since the reader won’t be able to play the audio or video, and the transcript is too long to include in the body of an essay, it’s perfectly suited for an appendix.

Do You Need an Appendix in Your Essay?

What is an appendix in an essay? We’ve cleared everything you need to know about it, from definition to purpose and possible uses.

Now, is including an appendix always necessary?

No, it’s a section you usually add upon the professor’s request. You can also include it yourself if you see that your essay cannot accommodate all the data you’d like to share.

Now, let’s talk about formatting essay appendices.

How to Format an Appendix?

The formatting rules will depend on the overall formatting style of your essay. If the requirements state that you should apply the MLA style, then it will govern the format of your appendix as well. So, check the guide to the required essay formatting style first.

Nevertheless, there are some general rules as well. So, how to format an appendix properly?

Here’s what it should contain:

  • Number or letter assigned to it
  • Body paragraph references
  • Page numbers (if you have several appendices)
  • Title, followed by a label
  • The appendix crossover and text
  • Reference list

So, this is how you format your appendix: start with the number of your appendix and the body paragraph reference (where it is mentioned in the text). Give page numbers to the appendix if it consists of several pages or you have a few appendices. Next, put the title at the center of the page, followed by the label. Then, start your text: the first paragraph is not intended, each paragraph is double-spaced. Conclude with the reference list, if any.


So, what is an appendix, and which purpose does it serve? Let’s sum up.

An appendix is a supplementary section of any written academic paper needed to provide additional information you otherwise can’t include in the essay itself. Including appendices is usually required by the professor, or you can do it by yourself if needed.

If this is your first time dealing with an essay appendix, and you have no idea what you’re doing, we’re here to help! Our professional writers will help you process data of any complexity for your essay appendix and format it accordingly.