What Are Footnote Citations? A Helpful Guide

What are footnote citations? Here’s of guide on how to use them correctly.

What are footnote citations? Footnote citations provide a way to credit the original author of a work or draw the reader’s attention to additional research on a topic. If you are writing a research paper that uses Chicago or Turabian style as the reference guide, you will need to know how to create footnote citations. These citations show where you got your ideas from in your paper’s paraphrased, summarized, or quoted portions. They require proper formatting and can help your reader find the references if they wish to fact-check your work.

To better understand footnote citations, you must understand what they are and how they are used in research papers. Here is a closer look at the answer to these questions.

What Are Footnote Citations?

Footnote citations are citations that are added at the bottom of the page. They are called footnotes because they appear at the “foot” or bottom of the page. Footnote citations use small superscript numbers next to the sentence that needs a citation. That superscript corresponds to a footnote with the same superscript number.

Footnote citations must follow the formatting specified by the style guide. The footnotes correspond to the works cited page, which lists all of the sources cited within the piece. In some instances, footnotes do not cite references but rather draw the reader’s attention to additional information to clarify a topic or point.

How to Format Footnote Citations for Chicago Style

In the Chicago style, you will format the footnote citations in a specific way. For example, the first time you have a reference listed in a footnote, you will use this format:

  • Book: First and last name of the author, Book Title, edition. (Place of publication: Publisher, year), page number, URL.
  • Article: First name and last name of the author, “Article title,” Journal or magazine name Volume, Issue number (year): page numbers, DOI or URL.
  • Website: Author first and last name, “Page Title,” Website Title, publication date, URL.

These formats are known as full notes. After the first complete note listing a particular source, if you cite that source again, you will use a short note. The short note follows this format:

  • Author last name, “Shortened Page Title.

It does not matter what type of source you list in the short note; you will use the same format. You can choose how you shorten the page title, as long as it is clear which resource you are referencing to the reader.

Turabian style footnotes follow the same format as Chicago Style. If your paper is assigned Turabian style, follow this guide.

How to Format Footnote Citations for APA Style

Most APA-style papers use parenthetical citations, but sometimes the work requires footnotes. These have their formatting that is different from the Chicago style.APA style allows for two types of footnote citations. First is the content note citation. This citation tells the reader to look into a particular resource for more information. For example, it will look like this:

  • See Author’s Las Name (publication year), especially (page or chapter number), for more information on (topic).

This citation type is used when the paper could benefit from more information, but the space does not allow you to add more summaries or paraphrases. Instead, the footnote directs the reader to look into the resource to get that information. The second type of footnote is the Copyright Note Citation. You will use this footnote when reprinting a large portion of the work with the copyright holder’s permission. Even though you have permission, you must still credit the original author, and the footnote lets you do that. These look like:

  • From the chapter “Chapter Name,” Author initial and last name, Publication date, Title of Work, Volume, page number. Copyright Date by Copyright Holder. Reprinted with permission.

Both of these footnotes aim not to cite the source but to add clarity and information to the piece.

How to Format Footnote Citations for MLA Style

How to format footnote citations for MLA style?
Regardless of your format, footnote citations add clarity and point the reader to your references

IT is rare to use footnotes in MLA-style writing, but sometimes there are so many sources listed within a small passage that parenthetical citations don’t work well. In these instances, you will add footnote citations.

In MLA format, use the following pattern:

  • Author’s Name, Work Title (City: Publisher, year) page number.

You can also add footnotes as content note citations to draw the reader’s attention to further research on the topic. These look like this:

  • See Author’s Last Name, especially page numbers, to show a particular concept.

Regardless of your format, footnote citations add clarity and point the reader to your references. Use them well, and your writing will be transparent, with proper references throughout.

If you need help, check out our guide to the best citation manager.

Join over 15,000 writers today

Get a FREE book of writing prompts and learn how to make more money from your writing.

Powered by ConvertKit