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How to write an appendix for a report

Updated August 10, 2017

Writing a report means drawing on various sources of data to support your argument. Although this data is important in its own right, it isn't always possible to include it in the report itself without harming its readability. When this happens, the best thing to do is include the data in the form of an appendix. An appendix can include raw statistical data, unedited interview responses, maps, graphs, charts or any other type of research material.

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  1. Consider the material you want to include in your appendix while writing your report. If data is vitally necessary to understand the report, it should be included in the main body. However, if the data can be usefully summarised in the report, it's better to include the summaries in the main body of the text and the raw data in an appendix.

  2. Study your school, company or institution's policy regarding appendices. There are no universal rules about how to write or format an appendix, but each institution will have certain guidelines. For instance, you're likely to find that appendices do not count toward your document's word limit.

  3. Complete the main body of your report. Include references in relevant sections of the text so that your readers know where to go to find the additional data.

  4. Begin your appendix on a new page. Style guides vary, but in the commonly-used Modern Language Association (MLA) style, the appendix comes before the bibliography.

  5. Write your appendix. The appendix is simply a repository for data, so it doesn't need much explanation or description. If the information you're presenting in the appendix needs much explanation, the main body of the report is probably a better place for it. You might choose to lay out numerical data in table format. Alternatively, if you have text data such as interview transcripts, you can separate them with subheadings.

  6. Label your appendix. If you have only one appendix, it should simply be titled "Appendix." If you have more than one, however, you will need to distinguish them. MLA style uses the titles "Appendix A," "Appendix B" and so on, but you might choose to number them instead.

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About the Author

James Holloway

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.

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