Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Student Guide to Footnoting for Informational Clarity and Scholarly Discourse

This short article is a guide for authors, student editors, and research assistants to the major types of footnotes and how to prepare them. First, I introduce the three basic types of text requiring footnote citations – those containing (a) references, (b) facts, and (c) ideas. Footnotes for references are designed to allow your readers to retrace your research and to decide for themselves whether your line of analysis is correct. Footnotes for facts are designed to provide your reader with additional background information about anything you have mentioned that may not be familiar to your readers, including potentially obscure people, places, objects, events. Footnotes for ideas are designed to place your arguments, ideas, and analyses in the broader intellectual context of those scholars who have already considered your subject, and often offers glimpses down the side avenues of discourse that cannot be pursued in the article itself. The article concludes with some guidelines for undertaking research in ways that make it easier to prepare scholarly footnotes efficiently and correctly.
International Journal of Legal Information, Vol. 34, No. 1, p. 87, 2006 (available through A-to-Z list full-text OR click on the TITLE, scroll on your left side to find the article)

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