Research Paper Writing: How to Do a Footnote

When writing a research paper, there are occasions where it becomes necessary to add a footnote. Knowing how to insert a footnote is one key element. Knowing what information goes into a footnote is another important part. When adding footnotes, talk to the person who assigned the research paper and find out how he/she prefers the footnotes are written. Here are some things you should know when adding a footnote.

  • Adding a footnote
  • Before you add a footnote, you need to know how to insert a footnote into your paper. When writing a paper in the application Microsoft Word you click on "References" and then click on "Insert Footer." Microsoft will automatically insert the number and you can add the footnote in the footer section of the document.

  • Formatting
  • Although Microsoft does most of the work for inserting footnotes, it is important to know how the footnotes belong in a document. The footnotes are in consecutive, numeral order. The footnote goes at the bottom of the same page of the document that has the corresponding information. If citing the source of a reference, the information does not need to be repeated if it was stated in a previous footnote (even if on a previous page). In this case, only the author and page number would be expected.

  • Types of footnotes
  • There are two types of information that goes in a footnote. Sometimes a footnote contains additional information. This could be information needed to clarify or add detail. These footnotes should be brief. The other type of footnote contains a reference for where the information was found. This would also be included in your bibliography page at the end of the research paper. Discuss with the person who assigned the research paper. Find out if he/she has a preference for what to include in a footnote. Follow those guidelines when including footnotes.

  • An addition not a distraction
  • Footnotes can be an added benefit to a research paper, adding clarity and information. Done incorrectly, they can clutter up a research paper. Make sure the footnote is necessary and adds to the flow of the document.

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