What is an Appendix in an Essay

An appendix is a section located at the end of an essay or other paper that includes supplementary information or materials related to the main text. The purpose of an appendix is to provide relevant content that supports the arguments and claims made in the essay but would be distracting or inappropriate to include in the body paragraphs.

In understanding what an appendix is in an essay, it’s essential to recognize it as a supplementary section containing relevant material; for students seeking cost-effective solutions, exploring options like do my essay cheap services can provide efficient assistance in producing well-structured and comprehensive academic papers.

When to Use an Appendix

There are several situations when an appendix may be useful or even expected in an academic paper:

  1. Long, technical derivations or extensive data. For example, a scientific paper would clutter up the narrative flow to include lengthy mathematical derivations or lists of experimental readings within the text. These can be removed from an appendix.
  2. Surveys or questionnaires. If your research includes extensive surveys or questionnaires, just a summary or analysis belongs in the main text. Put the actual survey instrument in an appendix.
  3. Non-essential background material. This might include maps, contextual history, or biography related tangentially to the research.
  4. Relevant articles or text extracts. Rather than quoting reams of text, excerpt and reference key sections in the appendix.
  5. Controversial or supplementary data. Information that would distract from the main argument but still needs to be available can be added as an appendix.

How to Format an Appendix


The rules for formatting appendices depend on the citation style guide the paper is following. Common formats include:

MLA Style

  • The appendix title appears centered at the top of the first page. Use title case capitalization.
  • Format references, citation style, layout, and other elements to match the main paper.
  • Use alphanumeric designation for multiple appendices (A, B, C, etc.)

APA Style

  • Center the word “Appendix” at the top of each appendix page.
  • If only one appendix, label it “Appendix”; if multiple appendices label them “Appendix A”, “Appendix B”, etc.
  • Format any references, tables or figures within the appendix per standard APA guidelines.

Chicago Style

  • The appendix title appears centered and bolded at the top of the first page.
  • Refer to appendices in the text parenthetically, similar to citing sources. For example: “survey results indicated low awareness of policy changes amongst nurses (see Appendix for survey instrument)”.
  • Format any references or citations within the appendix per standard Chicago guidelines.

Key Points for the Appendix in Essays


  • Place the appendix after the reference list or bibliography.
  • Refer to the appendix in the body text where relevant.
  • Explain the purpose of the appendix material in the lead-in.
  • Try to choose content that can stand alone from the main paper. The reader should still be able to understand the purpose and context of the appendix information without necessarily reading the entire paper.
  • Check the guidelines for your paper format and discipline. Specific rules sometimes apply to appendix material suitable for different fields and academic publications.

The appendix can contain quite varied supplemental information. The key is that it directly supports, but does not properly belong in the actual essay. Used judiciously, appendices add value and credibility to papers without encumbering the key arguments.

Subheadings Break Up Blocks of Text

Subheadings are an important part of formal essay formatting. Their purpose is to break up long blocks of dense text, making articles, papers, and other documents easier to read and digest. Appropriate use of subheadings improves overall document structure and navigation.

Ways Subheadings Help with Readability and Flow

  • They emphasize key topics and themes
  • They provide visual signposts to orient readers as they move through complex material
  • They identify changes in topic focus within a section
  • Related information is grouped together between subheadings
  • The hierarchy of subheadings helps guide the relative importance

Subheading Formats


Different academic disciplines have their own subheading conventions that should be followed. Common formats include:

Numeric Format

  1. First Main Section 1.1 First Subsection 1.2 Second Subsection
  2. Second Main Section

Depending on the guidelines, first levels may use numbers and lower levels letters or some other variant.

Formatting Guidelines

  • Do not use too many levels of subheads. Three levels (including the title as main heading) is generally sufficient.
  • Be consistent with hierarchical formatting. Maintain the same typographic styling for different levels.
  • Avoid “stacked’ headings without intervening text. Include a lead in sentence or two before the subhead.
  • Don’t repeat the paper title as first subhead. This is redundant.

Subheadings are an important structural element to integrate into longer papers. Used judiciously, they help readers grasp, navigate and retain information from complex long-form documents.

Integrating Long and Short Sentences


An effective technique to improve writing style involves balancing sentence length and structure. Using only long, complex sentences leads to turgid impenetrable text. Similarly, overly terse text seems disjointed and lacks flow. The best approach combines longer elaborate sentences with shorter, simpler constructions.

This practice introduces desirable syntactic variability within a passage. Shifting sentence length avoids monotony where every sentence has the same phonetic duration. Combining elaborate and more economical phrasing also modulates informational density over the paragraph. Dense clauses rich in adjectives and description paired with crisp pithy statements makes for an engaging and dynamic read.

Let’s illustrate the technique for lively writing with opposing examples. This first paragraph consists solely of short two to five word sentences:

I begin my day early. I wake before dawn. I stretch my body slowly. I get out of bed. I walk to the window. I watch sunrise colors fill the morning sky. The sentences convey information inefficiently. The paragraph seems disjointed or immature. Adding sentence length variety improves paragraph cohesion and sophistication.

While reasonable for effect, paragraphs written this way frustrate fluency. The next example demonstrates this. Here the passage uses only lengthy sentences brimming with clauses:

This growing labyrinth confuses by sheer verbiage. The reader feels bludgeoned by relentless expansion complicating a modest leitmotif. Inviting fatigue through avoidable obfuscation handicaps communication behind verbosity smothering concision.

Blending longer complex sentences with shorter terser statements focuses ideas into digestible morsels. The reader comprehends information modulated in compact appetizing proportions without choking on elephantine agglomerations of poorly curated diction. Significant thematic concepts shine within intricate literary architecture adorned in restraint pursuing elegance.

Masterful phrasing enthuses insight through proclaiming profound truth inside piquant delightful packaging.

This contrasts the extreme examples above, demonstrating myriad shades between them open creative possibilities. A crafter wielding linguistic tools continues this lifelong exploration seeking impact and audience connection.