Sunday, 17 October 2010

I started writing my paper but then I shot myself in the footnote!

Ahh, the wonderful experience of research writing and learning new citation styles. Our school, PIU, has adopted the Chicago-Turabian style and footnotes are striking fear into the hearts of many a student.

Fear not!

There are a few simple guidelines to follow. Along with the A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th ed. I have found that Nancy Jean Vyhmeister's book Quality Research Papers is a wonderful addition for interpreting some of the more vague aspects of the Turabian style. Specifically for footnotes, here are a few simple guidelines:
  • Footnotes can be for content or just for reference. If used for content, place the reference, in the proper format, after the explanation.
  • If you are using the same source twice in a row, use the word "Ibid" to indicate that it's the same and note the page number.
  • If you use the same source more than once but it's separated by another reference, use the author's last name with an abbreviated form of the title and the page number.
  • Number all footnotes sequentially.

Like with anything: practice makes progress. Give yourself a ridiculously large amount of time to do the first paper and you'll find that it will be easier and go much faster for subsequent research endeavors.

Happy Footnoting!

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