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A Brief Manual On Writing A Research Paper With Footnotes

Using footnotes is a great way to give credit to sources you have used or referenced in a research paper, or any other type of academic written assignment. If you don’t apply credit you not only lessen the level of credibility in your claims but you also risk facing accusations of plagiarism. A lot of students are only vaguely familiar with footnotes – most often as result of coming upon them in readings. If you find yourself in quick need of learning how to use footnotes, this brief manual should be quite helpful:

  1. Take detailed notes when you begin research
  2. The first step is simply being detailed in your note-taking when conducting your preliminary and in-depth research. Take down full citations and ensure that you have collected data, facts, quotations and paraphrases correctly.

  3. Add the information as you write the first draft
  4. A great method to ensure you don’t forget anything is to write your footnotes as compose your first draft. Your writing doesn’t have to be precise as one of the best methods of writing a draft is to do so quickly and efficiently. Just get down as much information as comes to mind related to information you are providing in the main text.

  5. Identify what is needed and what can be avoided
  6. One of the biggest problems students have in creating footnotes is in knowing exactly what should be included in the note and what can be avoided. The information that goes into the note should slightly tangential to the information being discussed the main text. But you don’t want to overwhelm the reader with too much content. Don’t get too far off topic.

  7. Start writing and organizing the bibliography
  8. As you write your notes and put them into your first draft you should start writing and organizing the bibliography. This is an important way of keeping on top of all the content you are putting in and a great way to save some valuable time you could have otherwise spent doing the bibliography later.

  9. Be sure you are using the correct style format
  10. Finally, double check that you have used the correct style format for both the footnotes and the bibliography. There are several style guides to choose from (APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.) and selecting the right one depends on the discipline in which you are writing the research paper. If you are uncertain, you can always ask your professor directly.

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