Chicago/Turabian Basics: Footnotes
Why We Use Footnotes
The style of Chicago/Turabian we use requires footnotes rather than in-text or parenthetical citations. Footnotes or endnotes acknowledge which parts of their paper reference particular sources. Generally, you want to provide the author’s name, publication title, publication information, date of publication, and page number(s) if it is the first time the source is being used. Any additional usage, simply use the author’s last name, publication title, and date of publication.
Footnotes should match with a superscript number at the end of the sentence referencing the source. You should begin with 1 and continue numerically throughout the paper. Do not start the order over on each page.
In the text:
Throughout the first half of the novel, Strether has grown increasingly open and at ease in Europe; this quotation demonstrates openness and ease.1
In the footnote:
1. Henry James, The Ambassadors (Rockville: Serenity, 2009), 34-40.
When citing a source more than once, use a shortened version of the footnote.
2. James, The Ambassadors, 14.
Citing sources with more than one author
If there are two or three authors of the source, include their full names in the order they appear on the source. If there are more than three authors, list only the first author followed by “et al.” You should list all the authors in the bibliography.
John K. Smith, Tim Sampson, and Alex J. Hubbard, Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010), 65.
John K. Smith, Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010), 65.
Citing sources with other contributor information
You may want to include other contributor information in your footnotes such as editor, translator, or compiler. If there is more than one of any given contributor, include their full names in the order they appear on the source.
John Smith, Example Book, trans. Bill McCoy and Tim Thomas (New York: Random House, 2000), 15.
John Smith, Example Book, ed. Tim Thomas (New York: Random House, 1995), 19.
If the contributor is taking place of the author, use their full name instead of the author’s and provide their contribution.
John Smith, trans., Example Book (New York: Random House, 1992), 25.
Citing sources with no author
It may not be possible to find the author/contributor information; some sources may not even have an author or contributor- for instance, when you cite some websites. Simply omit the unknown information and continue with the footnote as usual.
Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010), 65.
Citing a part of a work
When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page or section identifier. This can include specific pages, sections, or volumes. If page numbers cannot be referenced, simply exclude them. Below are different templates:
Webster’s Dictionary, vol. 4 (Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1995).
Part of a multivolume work:
John Smith, ed., “Anthology,” in Webster’s Dictionary, ed. John Smith, vol 2. of Webster’s Dictionaries (Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1995).
Chapter in a book:
Garrett P. Serviss, “A Trip of Terror,” in A Columbus of Space (New York: Appleton, 1911), 17-32.
Introduction, afterword, foreword, or preface:
Scott R Sanders, introduction to Tounchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to Present, ed. Lex Williford and Michael Martone (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), x-xii.
Article in a periodical:
William G. Jacoby, “Public Attitudes Toward Public Spending,” American Journal of Political Science 38, no. 2 (May 1994): 336-61.
Citing group or corporate authors
In your footnotes, cite a corporate author like you would a normal author.
American Medical Association, Journal of the American Medical Association: 12-43.
Citing an entire source
When citing an entire work, there are no specific page numbers to refer to. Therefore, simply exclude the page numbers from the footnote.
John K. Smith, Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010).
Citing indirect sources
When an original source is unavailable, then cite the secondhand source – for instance, a lecture in a conference proceedings. If using an unpublished address, cite only in the paper/writing. If using a published address, use a footnote with the following format.
Paula Abdul mentioned in her interview on Nightline…
Zouk Mosbeh, “Localization and the Training of Linguistic Mediators for the Third Millennium,” Paper presented at The Challenges of Translation & Interpretation in the Third Millennium, Lebanon, May 17, 2002.
Citing the Bible
The title of books in the Bible should be abbreviated. Chapter and verses should be separated by a colon. You should include the version you are referencing.
Prov. 3:5-10 AV.
Citing online sources
Generally, follow the same principals of footnotes to cite online sources. Refer to the author if possible and include the URL.
Henry James, The Ambassadors (Rockville: Serenity: 2009), http://books.google.com.
Bhakti Satalkar, “Water Aerobics,” http://www.buzzle.com, (July 15, 2010).
Citing online sources with no author
If there is no author, use either the article or website title to begin the citation. Be sure to use quotes for article titles and include the URL.
“Bad Strategy: At E3, Microsoft and Sony Put Nintendo on the Defense,” BNET, www.cbsnews.com/moneywatch, (June 14, 2010)
Advantages of Using Endnotes
- Endnotes are less distracting to the reader and allows the narrative to flow better.
- Endnotes don't clutter up the page.
- As a separate section of a research paper, endnotes allow the reader to read and contemplate all the notes at once.
Disadvantages of Using Endnotes
- If you want to look at the text of a particular endnote, you have to flip to the end of the research paper to find the information.
- Depending on how they are created [i.e., continuous numbering or numbers that start over for each chapter], you may have to remember the chapter number as well as the endnote number in order to find the correct one.
- Endnotes may carry a negative connotation much like the proverbial "fine print" or hidden disclaimers in advertising. A reader may believe you are trying to hide something by burying it in a hard-to-find endnote.
Advantages of Using Footnotes
- Readers interested in identifying the source or note can quickly glance down the page to find what they are looking for.
- It allows the reader to immediately link the footnote to the subject of the text without having to take the time to find the note at the back of the paper.
- Footnotes are automatically included when printing off specific pages.
Disadvantages of Using Footnotes
- Footnotes can clutter up the page and, thus, negatively impact the overall look of the page.
- If there are multiple columns, charts, or tables below only a small segment of text that includes a footnote, then you must decide where the footnotes should appear.
- If the footnotes are lengthy, there's a risk they could dominate the page, although this issue is considered acceptable in legal scholarship.
Things to keep in mind when considering using either endnotes or footnotes in your research paper:
1. Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout a research paper, except for those notes accompanying special material (e.g., figures, tables, charts, etc.). Numbering of footnotes are "superscript"--Arabic numbers typed slightly above the line of text. Do not include periods, parentheses, or slashes. They can follow all punctuation marks except dashes. In general, to avoid interrupting the continuity of the text, footnote numbers are placed at the end of the sentence, clause, or phrase containing the quoted or paraphrased material.
2. Depending on the writing style used in your class, endnotes may take the place of a list of resources cited in your paper or they may represent non-bibliographic items, such as comments or observations, followed by a separate list of references to the sources you cited and arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. If you are unsure about how to use endnotes, consult with your professor.
3. In general, the use of footnotes in most academic writing is now considered a bit outdated and has been replaced by endnotes, which are much easier to place in your paper, even with the advent of word processing programs. However, some disciplines, such as law and history, still predominantly utilize footnotes. Consult with your professor about which form to use and always remember that, whichever style of citation you choose, apply it consistently throughout your paper.
NOTE: Always think critically about the information you place in a footnote or endnote. Ask yourself, is this supplementary or tangential information that would otherwise disrupt the narrative flow of the text or is this essential information that I should integrate into the main text? If you are not sure, it's better to work it into the text. Too many notes implies a disorganized paper.
Cermak, Bonni and Jennifer Troxell. A Guide to Footnotes and Endnotes for NASA History Authors. NASA History Program. History Division; Hale, Ali. Should You Use Footnotes or Endnotes? DailyWritingTips.com; Tables, Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Lunsford, Andrea A. and Robert Connors. The St. Martin's Handbook. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989; Saller, Carol. “Endnotes or Footnotes? Some Considerations.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 58 (January 6, 2012): http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2012/01/06/endnotes-or-footnotes-some-considerations/.