Bibliography, Footnotes, and Endnotes
As mentioned earlier, you will need a works cited list (often called a bibliography) at the end of your paper. This will list all the books, articles, Web sites, interviews, and other sources you referenced or quoted throughout your paper. You should start making this list before you even complete an outline; sometimes, you may even want to start making the list before you come up with a thesis. As soon as you find a work you think you'll use, write down all the bibliographical information. This should be done in the documentation style format you'll be using for your paper, such as the MLA style. You can always remove a source from your list if you find that it isn't needed, but going back to gather the information is a nuisance.
There will be times when you will not want to remove those unused items, however. Frequently, papers will be required to have a bibliography that lists books on the subject for further research. These lists will never be complete for normal student research papers or dissertations. An exhaustive bibliography of all works on almost any subject takes many, many pages. In fact, books that are nothing but bibliographies have been published.
Bibliographies published as books or articles without any associated paper are generally annotated, and often students are asked to annotate their own works cited lists. To annotate, you simply add a sentence or two after the publication information for the work's entry. These sentences will discuss the thoughts presented in the work and perhaps mention how useful the work is as a whole.
Footnotes and endnotes are a touchy subject. Some professors don't like them. Some documentation styles require that you use footnotes or endnotes to refer to the cited work. Using footnote citation is popular with some people who claim that the internal citation method used by the MLA is distracting. They want the information available if they want to investigate the idea further, but they don't want their reading pace interrupted by a parenthetical reference to an author and page number.
In general, there are two reasons to use a footnote or endnote:
To cite a work. This should always be used if the documentation style requires it, and never used if your documentation style asks for internal citation.
To provide information interesting or relevant to your paper's discussion, but still tangential. These should be kept to a minimum, and as mentioned earlier, some evaluators may not like them, in which case they should be eliminated entirely.
There aren't many instances where the information you would put into a footnote can't be worked into the regular text of your argument.
With modern word-processing software, endnotes and footnotes are very easy to create. Generally, it's a matter of opening a menu and choosing whether you want a footnote or an endnote. Most software will keep track of the numbering of your notes and will automatically adjust them if you delete or add a note.