General Advice

Take accurate notes.

.... so that you have no confusion about what pages and what sources quoted or paraphrased material comes from, and when quoted or paraphrased material ends and your own thoughts begin; this applies regardless of whether your notes are hand-written or typed into your computer as you read. Take down ALL bibliographic material about all sources at an early stage in your note-taking. Cite in full ALL works used, even if they are referred to only incidentally and even if they were the assigned reading for the class. DOUBLE-CHECK all citations for accuracy before you turn in a paper.

For most student papers, footnotes will not be needed.

Just give page numbers and other necessary information in parentheses in the body of the text near the material quoted, then cite the work in full in the Works Cited section at the end of the paper. Do not use footnotes merely to cite page numbers, titles, etc.

Footnotes are appropriate for points of information and discussion that are necessary but not suitable in the body of the paper. Avoid using Latin tags such as Ibid., etc. Footnotes may be placed either at the bottom of the appropriate page (many word processing programs do this automatically for you) or at the end of the paper. Parenthetical citations may be used in footnotes as well, with the cited sources appearing in the Works Cited (example below).

Parenthetical Citations

Parenthetical Citations cover only the material in the paragraph they are in. A parenthetical citation coming in the middle or at the end of a paragraph is assumed to refer to all the quoted material preceding it in that paragraph that is not directly cited. Several quotations from a single page or set of pages may thus be covered by one parenthetical citation if you place it strategically. If your citations are being pulled from many different pages, however, then many different parenthetical citations will be needed. When you move to a new paragraph and new quotations (even if they're from the same page), new parenthetical citations will be needed.

The context should always make it clear what book or article you are referring to; if it is not, you may cite the author and/or the book in parentheses too (Morrison 89). If you are using more than one text by an author in your paper, make sure the specific text is clear:

As Freud mentioned, "What is primitive is so commonly preserved alongside of the transformed version which has arisen from it" (Civilization and Its Discontents 15). Or: As Freud said in Civilization and Its Discontents, "What is primitive . . ." (15).