How to use footnotes and create a bibliography

How to use footnotes and create a bibliography

How to use footnotes and create a bibliography

How to use footnotes and create a bibliography
Image of Ju Dee

It’s important that you show that you have done your own, independent research, and to do that you must acknowledge what you have found and used in other people’s work. You must, at all costs, avoid any suggestion that you have used other people’s ideas with the intention of passing them off as your own. This is plagiarism, and is taken so seriously that it can invalidate the results of any examination or assessment.

I. What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is passing somebody else’s work off as your own. So if you copy text from a book in an essay and do not say where it is from, you are plagiarizing. Plagiarizing is cheating, and can have serious consequences. Therefore it is very important to keep a note of where you discovered information, perhaps tracking it in the Gathering Grid, and to learn how to display this information correctly in your written work.

There are other reasons why it is a good idea to learn to do this properly. You will demonstrate to the marker of the work how much reading you have done for a particular piece of work. And while you will be able to also show where what you have written comes from other sources, avoiding plagiarism, you will also display where you have had your own original thoughts and ideas on a topic. Finally it will make your work look professional and enable other readers to discover more about specific points you make by looking at the works you cite.

The way this is done in written work is through placing a list of books and other texts you have consulted—a bibliography—at the end of your essay, and referencing them through your text through footnotes or in parentheses in the text.

II. How to layout your bibliography

There are two major recognised ways to reference your work. The first is often called the humanities format, which requires the use of extensive footnotes. The second, which has long been used in science texts and is being increasingly used elsewhere, is called the Harvard format, and uses a brief note in parenthesis in the text to send the reader to the correct reference.

Whichever format you choose or are directed to use, the bibliography is laid out in the same way; that is alphabetically by the last name of the author. Where there is no author (such as an unsigned encyclopedia article), the title of the work governs the position in the list.

Include in your bibliography all the references you have used, whether it is a book, newspaper or journal article, Web site or radio broadcast.

III. The Humanities format bibliography

For the bibliography, you’ll find all the information you need in the opening pages of a book or journal. The format for laying out the information identifying a book should be as follows:

Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Year.
–For example–
Bullock, Alan, Hitler and Stalin; Parallel Lives, London:
HarperCollins, 1991



Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Book Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Year.

Encyclopedia article

“Article Title,” Encyclopedia Name. Edition Year ed.

Newspaper, magazine, or journal article

Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Article Title” Publication Title Publication Date: page numbers.

Book review

Reviewer Last Name, Reviewer First Name. Review of Book Title by Book Author First and Last Name. Publication Location: Publisher, Publication Year.


Film Title. Dir. Director First and Last Name. Studio or Distributor, Movie Release Date.

Internet source

Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Article or Page Title.” Site Name. Institution or organisation affiliated with the site. Publication Date. <URL>. (Date Accessed)

How to use footnotes and create a bibliography
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IV. Footnotes

The humanities format uses footnotes. In the footnote you list the publications from which you have quoted or paraphrased an argument in your work. The advantage of this system is that you can insert these using the menus in Microsoft Word, which is found in Reference/Footnote… under the Insert menu.

Alternatively you put a footnote icon on to your taskbar by finding it in Tools/Customize … under the Insert icons. A number is inserted where your cursor is in you text, and at the bottom of the page, a corresponding number for your footnote.

that “anyone reading stlin’s speeches and writings will notloe their catechistic structure, the use of question and answer, the reduction of complex questions to set of simplified formulas, the quoting of text to support his arguments” this had the effect of….

Note how the number appears after the punction.
Bullock, Alan, Htler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. (London; HarperCollins, 1991) p.113

if the item appears again later in your work, you can rework the footnote to a shorter form.

How to use footnotes and create a bibliography
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V. The Harvard format

The titles in this format of bibliography are laid out in a slightly different fashion:
Author Last Name; Author Initial. (Publication Year) Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher.

–for example–
Bullock, A. (1991) Hilter and Stalin; Parallel Lives. London: HarperCollins.

Instead of a numbered footnote, the reference is supplied in parentheses in the text. So you might make your argument and supply your (Bullock, 1991, p.239) reference in the line of the text. The author and the date differentiate the book in the bibliography; if there is more than one text with the same author/date combination, one should be marked immediately after the date by an “a”, the second “b” and so on, which should be marked in the same way in the bibliography.