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General Tips On How To Use Footnotes In A Research Paper

If you are new to college, then you may not be familiar with footnotes. A footnote has two different parts. First, a subscripted number is found in the text of a research paper, following paraphrased information. Second, the bibliographical information for this paraphrased information is inserted at the bottom of the page. It allows you to cross-reference information without cluttering your essay. Here are some easy tips to get you started using footnotes.

Tip #1: Microsoft Word will Insert Footnotes for You

When you use Microsoft Word to write your paper, you can make the process of inserting footnotes significantly easier. From the insert menu, click reference, and then footnote so that Word will recognize your citation as a footnote. Not only will it help you insert it into the right area, it provides automatic numbering. Microsoft Word also re-numbers automatically if you are cutting, pasting, or moving your footnotes around.

Tip #2: Save Yourself Some Writing and Know the Protocol

When you insert footnotes, it is common to include the full citation first. This should follow the same format that you would use on a reference page. Once you have included the full citation, however, the author’s last name and page number where you found the paraphrased information is considered an adequate representation of the citation information. Although, you may need to ask about your professor’s preferences if you have more than one source with the same surname.

Tip #3: Should You Use ibid?

At one time, it was common to use the phrase “ibid” to indicate that the source had been used previously. Then, the reader can go back and find the source. Now, however, ibid is assumed when you do not include the full citation. Be sure to ask your instructor about their preference if you are unsure.

Tip #4: Know if You Really Need Footnotes

In your average research paper, you probably do not even need footnotes. This will depend entirely on your teacher’s preferences. Even if you find that you do not need them for your upcoming paper, however, keep this article handy! Footnotes are commonly used to write a dissertation, theses, or another document that follows MLA style.

Know when to use footnotes, as well as how to use them, is an essential part of college. Be sure that you come prepared. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor questions, follow the proper formatting, and remember that Microsoft Word can really make the entire process simpler!

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