Write Essay Endnotes

Advantages of Using Endnotes

  • Endnotes are less distracting to the reader and allows the narrative to flow better.
  • Endnotes don't clutter up the page.
  • As a separate section of a research paper, endnotes allow the reader to read and contemplate all the notes at once.

Disadvantages of Using Endnotes

  • If you want to look at the text of a particular endnote, you have to flip to the end of the research paper to find the information.
  • Depending on how they are created [i.e., continuous numbering or numbers that start over for each chapter], you may have to remember the chapter number as well as the endnote number in order to find the correct one.
  • Endnotes may carry a negative connotation much like the proverbial "fine print" or hidden disclaimers in advertising. A reader may believe you are trying to hide something by burying it in a hard-to-find endnote.

Advantages of Using Footnotes

  • Readers interested in identifying the source or note can quickly glance down the page to find what they are looking for.
  • It allows the reader to immediately link the footnote to the subject of the text without having to take the time to find the note at the back of the paper.
  • Footnotes are automatically included when printing off specific pages.

Disadvantages of Using Footnotes

  • Footnotes can clutter up the page and, thus, negatively impact the overall look of the page.
  • If there are multiple columns, charts, or tables below only a small segment of text that includes a footnote, then you must decide where the footnotes should appear.
  • If the footnotes are lengthy, there's a risk they could dominate the page, although this issue is considered acceptable in legal scholarship.

Things to keep in mind when considering using either endnotes or footnotes in your research paper:

1.    Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout a research paper, except for those notes accompanying special material (e.g., figures, tables, charts, etc.). Numbering of footnotes are "superscript"--Arabic numbers typed slightly above the line of text. Do not include periods, parentheses, or slashes. They can follow all punctuation marks except dashes. In general, to avoid interrupting the continuity of the text, footnote numbers are placed at the end of the sentence, clause, or phrase containing the quoted or paraphrased material.

2.    Depending on the writing style used in your class, endnotes may take the place of a list of resources cited in your paper or they may represent non-bibliographic items, such as comments or observations, followed by a separate list of references to the sources you cited and arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. If you are unsure about how to use endnotes, consult with your professor.

3.    In general, the use of footnotes in most academic writing is now considered a bit outdated and has been replaced by endnotes, which are much easier to place in your paper, even with the advent of word processing programs. However, some disciplines, such as law and history, still predominantly utilize footnotes. Consult with your professor about which form to use and always remember that, whichever style of citation you choose, apply it consistently throughout your paper.

NOTE:  Always think critically about the information you place in a footnote or endnote. Ask yourself, is this supplementary or tangential information that would otherwise disrupt the narrative flow of the text or is this essential information that I should integrate into the main text? If you are not sure, it's better to work it into the text. Too many notes implies a disorganized paper.

Cermak, Bonni and Jennifer Troxell. A Guide to Footnotes and Endnotes for NASA History Authors. NASA History Program. History Division; Hale, Ali. Should You Use Footnotes or Endnotes? DailyWritingTips.com; Tables, Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Lunsford, Andrea A. and Robert Connors. The St. Martin's Handbook. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989; Saller, Carol. “Endnotes or Footnotes? Some Considerations.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 58 (January 6, 2012): http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2012/01/06/endnotes-or-footnotes-some-considerations/.

M. Hickey  Bloomsburg University

Department of History


In your papers (including take home exams), all quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material must be followed by a source citation.

I REQUIRE that you use endnotes for your source citations, using the form explained in the directions below.  Be sure to read the directions carefully!

FAQs regarding endnotes:

What are endnotes?   

How do I "make" the numbers? 

What goes in the endnote itself? 

What if I use the same source again?

What if I cite a document or an essay that is reprinted in a book (in a document collection of a "reader"? 

What if I am citing an article from a scholarly journal?   

What if I cite a webpage?

link to warning regarding plagiarism and guidelines on quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing


What are endnotes????

An endnote is source citation that refers the readers to a specific place at the end of the paper where they can find out the source of the information or words quoted or mentioned in the paper.

When using endnotes, your quoted or paraphrased sentence or summarized material is followed by a superscript number.



Let's say that you have quoted a sentence from Lloyd Eastman's history of Chinese social life.  You have written this sentence:

According to Eastman, "The family was the central core of the Chinese social system."1

Analysis of the example:

Notice that there is a superscript number after the quotation.  You insert the number by using your word-processor's "insert reference" (or citation) function.

The superscript number corresponds to a note placed at the end of the paper (which is called an endnote).  Your word-processor will create a note number and a space at the end of your paper, where you then fill in the citation.  This endnote lets the reader know where you found your information.

Note numbers are sequential:  first note in your paper is numbered 1, the second note is 2 (even if you are quoting the same source as in #1), etc. 

AGAIN, even if you are repeating a reference to the same source, your numbers must continue in sequence (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  You  must use "Arabic" numbers (1, 2, 3...), not Roman numerals (i, ii, iii...)!


How do I actually make the endnote numbers?

You don't have to type in the numbers yourself!  Your word processing software (MS Word, etc) will insert the note numbers and make space for the note automatically if you use the "Insert Citation" or Insert Reference" function.  (Each program has a slightly different name for this function. Ask me for help if you have trouble figuring this out.)



What do I put in the endnote (the part that appears at the end the paper) the first time I refer to a source?

The first time you have a citation to a particular source, the note at the end of the paper must include the following information in the following order:

Author’s first name then last name, Title of Book (City of publication: Publishing company’s name, Date of Publication), Page Number of quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material.


You have written this sentence:

According to Eastman, "The family was the central core of the Chinese social system."1

At the end of the paper (in the space set aside for this note by your word-processing software), you would put the following information in the following order:


Lloyd E. Eastman, Family, Field, and Ancestors: Constancy and Change in China's Social and Economic History, 1550-1949 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 53.




What if I cite the same source again in my paper?

If you cite the same source again in you paper, use a short form for all subsequent citations to that source:

Author's last name, First Words of Book Title, page number.


Author's last name, page number.



You have already cited the Eastman, but then you cite it again in note #3:


Eastman, Family, Field, and Ancestors, 54.


3Eastman,  54.



What if I am citing a document or an essay that is reprinted in a book (such as a document readers for a Western Civilization course)?

I prefer that you cite documents or essays that are reprinted in collections this way:

Author of the original text, "Document or essay title," in Editor of Collection, ed., Title of book (Place of Pub:  Publisher, Year of Publication), page number.



St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologica," in James Brophy, et. al., Perspectives from the Past:  Primary Sources in Western Civilizations, vol. 1, From the Ancient Near East through the Age of Absolutism (New York:  Norton, 2002), 435.

Subsequent citations to this same source can use a short form.  So every time you cited any source in the Brophy book again, you would use a short form:

Example of short form:

Jean Bodin, "On Sovereignty," in Brophy, et. al, Perspectives from the Past, vol. 1, 631.



What if I am citing an article in a scholarly journal?

If you are citing an article from a scholarly journal, then the note needs to follow this format:

Author’s first name and last name, "Title of the Article," Title of the Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper Volume #, issue no. (date): pages.



Amy Smith, "Women Warriors of Indonesia," Journal of Asian History 31, no. 2 (1998): 55-93.

If you are citing a specific page of the article, then

Amy Smith, "Women Warriors of Indonesia," Journal of Asian History 31, no. 2 (1998): 59.

Any subsequent citation to the same source can use a short form:

Last name, "First Words of Title," page number.


Last name, page number.




Smith, "Women Warriors," 62



Smith, 62.



What if I am citing a web-based source?

I DO NOT want people to use using web-based sources in their papers unless they consult with me before hand.

When you do cite a web-based source, I would like you to list:

*the author, the title (etc), as you would in citing a print source.  (Sometimes a webpage does not have a clear title; present the clearest and most detailed title that you can for the particular page).

*the URL 

*in parenthesis note that date on which you read that webpage (this allows me to look at the webpage even if it has "disappeared" since you used it, by searching internet archives).


Martin Luther, "The Jews and Their Lies (1543)."  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/luther-jews.html (last accessed 22 July 2003).

Subsequent citations would use a short form.



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