Historical writing integrates personal analysis informed by research gathered from a wide range of sources. History papers use footnote citations as well as bibliographies to cite the sources used for interpreting and analyzing the past.
Students writing history papers must use footnotes to indicate the source of any direct quotation or the paraphrasing of another person's ideas or research. It is also important to use footnotes to indicate the source of any information that is not considered common knowledge. Footnotes (or endnotes) for history papers MUST follow formats outlined in The Chicago Manual of Style or Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
Footnotes have four main purposes:
a) to cite the authority for statements in text--specific facts or opinions as well as exact quotations
b) to make cross-references
c) to make incidental comments on, to amplify, or to qualify a textual discussion--in short, to provide a place for material the writer deems worthwhile to include but that might interrupt the flow of thought if introduced into the text
d) to make acknowledgement.
The Difference Between Footnotes and Endnotes
Footnotes and Endnotes serve the same purpose and follow the same format. Only the location is different. Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page, on the same page as the referenced superscript number. Endnotes appear at the end of the narrative text. Endnotes are organized in numerical order from lowest to highest. Papers should use footnotes or endnotes, but never both. Pay close attention to order and format for footnotes and endnote citations:
Research papers should always include a bibliography following Chicago Manual of Style or Turabian format. Bibliographies should include all primary and secondary sources consulted for a research paper; not just those included in footnotes.
Primary sources are generally defined as documents or other materials created the time period being studied or as close as possible to that era. Memoirs might also be considered a primary source if compiled by a participant in the orignal event events being studied.
A secondary source includes works written by someone intrepreting an historical event or phenomenon. Secondary sources analyze research done in primary and secondary sources. Examples include scholarly books and articles as well as reference books such as subject encyclopedias.
Information about identifying research sources in history is available through the UMBC Library's "History Subject Guide" Access to the guide is open to all, accessing the resources is restricted to University students, faculty, and staff. Log in is by UMBC usename and password (same as for your email).