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Chicago Style Quick Guide: Notes

What Are Notes, and When Should I Use Them?

Notes are references to works by other authors. They are used to document sources of information in academic and scholarly writing. They come in two forms: footnotes and endnotes. Footnotes occur at the bottom of the page where the citation occurs, and endnotes all occur on a separate page at the end of the paper, just before the Bibliography page. You should use either footnotes or endnotes -- but never use both in the same paper. Ask your instructor which is preferred. You should include a note wherever you directly quote another author; paraphrase, or put another author’s ideas into your own words; or include dates, statistics, or other factual information found in a source.

Where Do I Place Notes in the Text?

Whenever you quote, paraphrase or otherwise use information from a source, you should include a superscript number (e.g. 1, 2, etc.) immediately after the period at the end of the sentence. The first note should be followed by the superscript 1, the second by the superscript 2, and so on. (The “Insert Endnote” or “Insert Footnote” features in Microsoft Word simplify the process for creating notes. You can find these options under the “References” menu.)

Then, in the corresponding footnote or endnote, begin with the same superscript number, followed by the publishing information for the source. The first time you quote a source, list all of its publishing information including the author, title, publisher, and so on. (See the instructions for how to format note entries in the later section, “Bibliographic and Note Entries.”)

If you cite the same source again, simply include the author’s last name, the title of the source, and relevant page numbers. When citing the same source two or more times consecutively, simply place the Latin abbreviation “Ibid.” in the note, which translates to “in the same place,” followed by a comma and the page number if the page number is different from the previous citation.

Example of a Quotation and Corresponding Note

Although the 1980s were thought of as a prosperous time for all US citizens, the reality is that "the income of the typical worker or family in the United States grew very slowly during the 1980s."1

1 Paul Krugman, Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995), 136.

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