If the appendix is "formal," it should contain a beginning, middle, and ending. For example, if the appendix contains tables of test data, the appendix should not only contain the tabular data, but also formally introduce those tables, discuss why they have been included, and explain the unusual aspects that might confuse the reader. Because of time constraints, your instructor might allow you to include "informal" appendices with calculations and supplemental information. For such "informal" situations, having a clear beginning, middle, and ending is not necessary. However, you should still title the appendix, place a heading on each table, place a caption beneath each figure, and insert comments necessary for reader understanding. (See a sample appendix .)
Legal writing From UW–Madison Law Professor Andrew B. Coan's Judicial Capacity and the Substance of Constitutional Law (2012). Notice how the introduction leads the reader through a series of logical steps that describe the current conversation about the topic, and how the last sentence ends by promising (by implication) to fill an important gap in that conversation. Start with a very basic premise: courts can decide only a small fraction of the constitutional issues generated by the American government. By now, this is something of a commonplace among constitutional theorists. But it is a commonplace of a peculiar sort. It receives frequent lip service but is almost never taken really seriously. Advocates for more expansive constitutional protections routinely brush aside, or outright ignore, the judiciary's limited capacity. Opponents of such protections routinely write as if "government by judiciary" were a real and worrisome possibility. Meanwhile, there has been very little work exploring why the judiciary has such limited capacity or how we should expect this limitation to affect the substance of its constitutional decisions.
Most of the advice in this handout pertains to argumentative or exploratory academic essays. Be aware, however, that different genres have their own special expectations about beginnings and endings. Some academic genres may not even require an introduction or conclusion. An annotated bibliography, for example, typically provides neither. A book review may begin with a summary of the book and conclude with an overall assessment of it. A policy briefing usually includes an introduction but may conclude with a series of recommendations. Check your assignment carefully for any directions about what to include in your introduction or conclusion.