Footnotes and Endnotes

Check with your syllabus to see whether footnotes and endnotes are required. Some instructors want to see them on all research papers, while others have completely done away with them. If they are required, there is a specific format to use. The following sections explain how these notes are used, and how you should format them.

Footnotes and endnotes are another way to credit the source of the material used for research. They are used in addition to a bibliography. Instead of simply listing the sources as a bibliography does, these notes take readers to the exact page on which the material was found. Footnotes and endnotes are also used to present additional information that may not fit directly into the section to which it is related.

How Footnotes and Endnotes Differ

Though footnotes and endnotes are shown in the text of the paper in the same way, the listing of the sources is done differently. You will use either footnotes or endnotes, but not both. Footnotes are listed at the bottom (or foot) of the page on which the source is referenced. Endnotes are listed on a separate page at the end of the research paper, just before the bibliography. This page is called “Endnotes” or sometimes just “Notes.” The citations on the page are listed numerically in the order in which they appeared in the text of the research paper.

Formatting Your Notes

When you use footnotes and endnotes, you label them with numbers. The first footnote or endnote in your paper is number 1. As you work through the paper, you progress in numerical order. In the body of your paper, this number should appear half a space above the last word cited. This placement is called superscript. There is no space between the last letter of the word or the period of the sentence cited and the superscript number.

A text reference to a typical footnote or endnote looks like this:

Harley-Davidson added an electrical starter to its motorcycles in 1965, and dubbed the new motorcycles the Electra Glide.1

At the bottom of the page where you inserted the reference to a footnote, you will show the citation for that note. Leave four lines between the last line of text and the first footnote. Indent five spaces from the left margin, and then start the citation with the number corresponding to the footnote. Leave one space after the number before you cite the source used.

The format of a footnote or endnote differs from a bibliography entry in that the note is shown as one complete sentence. Therefore, there is only one period in the citation, at the end of the sentence. The citation should show the author's full name with first name first, then a comma, the title of the source in italics, the city, publisher, and year of publication in parentheses, and the page number or numbers ending with a period.

The footnote citation for the previous example would look like this:

1Jim Lensveld, Harley-Davidson, Factory and Custom Dream Machines (London: Rebo Productions Ltd., 1992) 36.

If the footnote exceeds one line, do not indent any subsequent lines. There should be two line spaces between footnotes if there is more than one on a page. Endnotes follow a similar format, but are shown on the separate Endnotes page.

Use a full citation the first time that you reference a particular piece of work. If you reference the same piece of work in subsequent footnotes, use only the author's last name followed by the page numbers. A subsequent footnote citation for the preceding example would be shown simply as 2Lensveld 48.

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