How to Include Appendices in Your Research Paper

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By: Marie Fincher

November 01, 2023

Did your professor tell you to have a research paper appendix, but you can’t imagine what goes into it? Don’t fret; we’re about to show you! The appendix is a section at the end of the paper with additional information that doesn’t belong in the main text. It shouldn’t have any arguments, quotes, or conclusions. You must use it to support the claims you already made in your essay — appendices help illustrate everything better. Take a look at ten types of content that will fit right in.

Ten Pieces of Information that Belong in Appendices

You finished your research paper and composed a list with references. Now what? That’s right, now it is time for appendices, especially if your essay has a lot of complex information! Look through our list and include relevant options in your work.

  1. Supplementary Data. Often, students working on a complex paper include a ton of information. There is no place for any additional illustrations, and this is where an appendix could help you. Were you explaining a tricky market situation to your readers? Add a graph to the appendix that helps demonstrate your point better. Were you listing all the numbers to show growth or decline? Create a table that will let your readers see all the data in one concise section. Raw data always has its place there: it could clutter your paper if you included it in the body in its unprocessed form, but it won’t hurt anyone in the appendix. Charts could also come in handy. Imagine comparing three different companies and analyzing their capabilities and limitations. You already explained their similarities and differences with text and numbers. Is adding a chart for a better illustration of these findings necessary? Not at all. But if it could make the picture clearer visually, why not? That’s what supplementary material is for!
  2. Research Instruments. Most dissertations and other layered research works involve an experiment of a sort. Students present a hypothesis, and then they need to perform a study to either prove or refute it. They rely on various instruments, such as surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, and other mediums. They are vital but don’t have a place in a paper in their full form. Let’s say you have five interview transcripts from questioning five people about their job satisfaction. This interview had ten questions and required ten expanded answers. You cannot possibly copy-paste them all into a body. No, you’ll reference and summarize them, but you won’t show them entirely. You can do it in the appendix, though! Put your raw data in there, and if your audience feels interested, they will look to see just what you asked your interviewees and what they responded with. It creates transparency because there is no place for double meanings left, and it also gives other researchers a chance to use your questions in their work.
  3. Detailed Methodology. Methodology is a crucial component of every research. You need to decide if it will be quantitative, qualitative, mixed, or experimental. Every student must mention relevant information about their chosen methodology in a paper: they have to say what they plan to do, in what way, and through which methods. But some of them might want to go beyond this. For instance, your experiment might be complex, or you might be so passionate that you want to share everything you did step by step with your readers. It’s not a problem, do it! Create a fitting appendix title and go ahead. That’s the whole point of appendices: they host extra info. Sometimes, students use unique equipment to do their experiments. If this is your case, describe this equipment in detail and put it at the end of the paper in another appendix. Any interested party can go there and take a closer look.
  4. Code and Algorithms. This point exists mostly for students who study IT or other similar spheres. If your paper deals with endless codes and tricky algorithms, putting them in the body of the paper is not an option. It’ll stretch for eternity, ruin the readability of your text, and your readers will feel bored very quickly. Creating an appendix and shoveling this info in there is a great solution! You could include the entire source code you made for a program, showing how it exists. Multiple readers appreciate the inclusion of raw data like this.  If you’re a bit of a nerd, add a detailed algorithm description in the appendix. Some people will ignore it, but others will enjoy studying it. If you’re having trouble with this paper and you keep thinking, “I’d like to pay someone to write my paper because it’s annoying,” ask for professional help. Our experts are one click away from you: we can perfect your academic writing or show you how to deal with appendices. You only need to mention, “I need someone good to write my research paper today.” One word from you, and we’ll get started.
  5. Participant Consent Forms. This is a point that many students overlook. Sometimes, professors ask to include complete consent forms personally, but in most cases, it’s up to you. You need to realize why this is essential. You had to find people to test your hypothesis and to write your research paper: most likely, they answered some questions for you or gave you a full interview. You need to prove that you got their consent and didn’t mislead them into participating in your research without telling them everything. This is why consent forms are there and why you must use them. Compose them carefully, covering every detail you shared with your living sample, and then paste this info onto a new page. Yeah, it’ll be the appendix. While your general readers might not be interested in it, we guarantee that your professor will take a look. Ethical considerations are everything where human subjects are concerned, and you should prove that you took them into account when working on your research paper.
  6. Maps, Images, or Photographs. Another reason appendices are common is their ability to host visual illustrations of your research. If adding photos or images is essential, you could include them in the body, but putting them under your appendix title is a much better idea if there are too many of them or their presence is not required. Did you measure the distance between locations to highlight some historical facts? Add a map to the appendix! It’ll be interesting, especially if you customize it, even if it’s not critical. Maybe you were exploring diseases some people have and how they are displayed. Your research paper mentions symptoms, but for particularly curious readers, you could include images that illustrate everything you described visually. Appendices are a perfect place for this. The same principle applies to photographs. You could take them of your subjects, equipment, and other elements involved in your research. Pasting them within the body isn’t important; it’d distract your audience from your main points, but including them in a separate appendix would do the trick.
  7. 7) Extended Explanations. Let us warn you, this form of material isn’t the best because most of your readers will find it boring or redundant. But it still exists and is common enough to be mentioned in this list. While it is obvious that you must do everything in your power to explain every point of your research in the body of the paper, sometimes it’s not enough. You might need to provide even more explanations, and this is something you can easily do with appendices. Imagine that you came up with a good formula to solve some task. You quickly explain how you did it, providing the basics and avoiding the boring details. But you want to show every aspect of your work — good news! — appendices allow you to do this. Include your complete formula in there. True, not everyone likes raw data like this, but some will appreciate it, and chances are, your professor will be among them. This is called being thorough. You could do the same with any background information. If you’ve been investigating a psychological profile of someone and this person experienced abuse & shared all the details with you, you can briefly disclose them in the text and then provide a complete overview in the appendix.
  8. Statistical Analysis. Many students shudder at the thought of doing any calculations, but some love it. Whether you fall into the first or the second category, you might need to write research papers like this, and in this case, you won’t be able to avoid appendices. They might become your best friends. If you had to show how you got from point A to point B, writing down all the formulas and analyses isn’t smart. It’ll turn your essay into a number-filled mess, and by the time people reach the end of the calculation, they’ll forget what they were reading in the first place and what this calculation is for. Place raw statistical data at the end of your research in an appendix. It’ll be there for extra thorough readers who are interested in seeing how you arrived at your conclusions, and, in turn, it won’t be cluttering your main text. As it always is with appendices, include crucial info in a body and mark the rest as supplementary material.
  9. Supporting Documentation. When students do their research, they accumulate some documentation. It might be full of vague or irrelevant information, but it’s still there, and if it can underline some of your points, you should include it. If you had to organize an extensive interview with your participant, you could have ten or even twenty pages. The most important stuff goes into the body of your essay. All the pages can be linked in an appendix: this will give readers a fuller picture of who the participant is and what they think. If you have some other files, like a case study with all observations or a detailed methodology, you could create multiple appendices and situate all the info there. Make as many of them as you need — unless your professor explicitly restricts it, there are no limits.
  10. Abbreviations and Acronyms. The last important type of content that has its place in appendices is abbreviations and similar elements. You might be working on a journal-style scientific paper with numerous complex concepts and phenomena. You can spell them out in their complete form once, but doing it repeatedly will be distracting and unnecessary. You’ll make your word count huge for no reason, which might result in a penalty. The solution lies in abbreviating and explaining these concepts on a new page in the appendix. Do the same with acronyms. If, at some point, your readers will forget what this or that abbreviation means, they’ll go to an appendix and look it up.

Format Your Appendices Correctly to Impress Your Readers Further

A clear appendix is a sure way to simplify your info for your readers. They’ll enjoy seeing understandable illustrations of the content they’ve just read. Remember that you could use several appendices simultaneously; there is no rule against it. Some of the materials we listed can go in Appendix A, while others will go to Appendix B. Be thorough, ask for help if you’re in trouble, and keep producing awesome research papers.

Tagged in: research paper writing
Marie Fincher

While being committed to a number of charitable causes, like volunteering at special events or giving free art lessons to children, Marie doesn’t forget her vocation – writing. She can write about almost anything but has focused on time management, motivation, academic and business writing.