A note tells where you learned something you wrote in your paper. Every time you quote someone or mention a fact that needs backing up, put a note number right there in the text. For instance, if you say in your paper that most American students write their papers the night before they’re due, put a note number at the end of that sentence.1
(you can also superscript it.)
That small number says, “See note 1 for my source.” If you quote a researcher who wrote, “Papers written the night before they’re due tend to be shorter than other papers,”2 put a note number at the end of the quote. That little 2 says, “See note 2 for the source of this quote.” In your notes, write your sources.
Let’s say that the source in note 1 is a book and the source in note 2 is an article. Books and articles have slightly different formats. If you learn those two formats, you’re halfway there:
1.Sara Stickler, Habits of Harried Students (New York: Vanity Press, 2013), 42.
2. Howard Noggin and Shirley Noddin, “The Psychology of Paper-Writing Panic,” Brain Fun Newsletter 3 (2013).
If you put all your notes together at the end of your paper in one list, they’re called endnotes. If you put each note at the bottom of the page where its text number appears, they’re called footnotes.
Endnotes and footnotes are exactly the same except for where you put them. Your instructor will probably tell you which to use.
A bibliography is a list of the sources you used in your notes. (Some teachers might also ask you to include sources you read but didn’t end up actually using. You might also be asked to include sources you didn’t read but that would be of interest for further reading. Be sure to ask what your instructor expects you to include in your bibliography.) The sources are in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. The author’s last name comes first to make alphabetizing easier:
Noggin, Howard, and Shirley Noddin. “The Psychology of Paper-Writing Panic.”
Stickler, Sara. Habits of Harried Students. New York: Vanity Press, 2013.
They found that "The limbs were very fragile" (24-25).1
Each superscript then refers to a numbered citation in the footnotes or endnotes.
Full citation in a note:
1. Newton N. Minow and Craig L. LaMay, Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 24–25.
Shortened citation in a note:
The first time a source is cited in your paper, the corresponding note should include all relevant source information. However, to reduce the overall bulk of publications which use footnotes or endnotes, subsequent usage of that source only requires you to use a shortened version of that citation. Short form information should include the author’s last name, a shortened version of the title (if longer than four words), and any other directing information, such as page numbers.
Note: According to the 7th Edition of CMS, the use of "ibid" is discouraged in favor shortened citations.
8. Minow and LaMay, Presidential Debates, 138.
Entry in a bibliography:
Minow, Newton N., and Craig L. LaMay. Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
For more examples on how to cite books, articles, websites and more, see
Notes and Bibliography -- Sample Citations