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Turabian footnotes in a dissertation

How to cite sources with Turabian footnotes in a dissertation

Jan 09, 2013
To properly organize your information as well prevent any accusations of plagiarism, proper referencing of sources must take place during and after the writing process. Whether for a dissertation or other academic work, the role of referencing and citing sources can hardly be compared to any other criteria. It is often what separates professional publishable works from amateur, everyday writing. Likewise, in a sense, by crediting others, whether via footnotes, endnotes, bibliography or reference pages, a writer has chosen to contribute to a world of scholarship by upholding some or all of a the rights of others.
So with that said, how exactly are these rights upheld and where does Turabian fit into the scheme of things?

Styling guides

Styling guides, also known as styling manuals, are no stranger to academia. They are a set of rules, or code of conduct if you will, for preparing and presenting written documents. This includes a clear method of referencing sources (both in and outside the text of a paper) as well as the overall design and format to be used. Such guides have become very much ingrained in post secondary education and serve many useful purposes-one of them being to provide uniformity to the presentation of information as well as consistent standards for every student, researcher, and writer.

Turabian Styling Manual

The Turabian styling guide in particular is one of several styling guides. It was named after Kate L. Turabian and can be referred to by its official title of Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. This manual closely resembles the Chicago Manual of Style and only has some slight differences with student writing in mind. *Thus, if completing a dissertation, Turabian may be the ideal choice for you.

Footnotes using Turabian

When citing references using the Turabian styling guide there are two main approaches to utilize; bibliographic style and reference style. Your discipline may dictate which format you use, though the bibliographic style is the one in which footnotes or endnotes are required (coupled with a bibliography at the end of the paper).This type is common to the humanities, such as art, history and religion, whereas the in-text parenthetical references are generally used in the social sciences (i.e. the reference style previously mentioned).
The footnote differs from the endnote in that it is placed at the bottom of a page in which a source was referenced. Endnotes on the other hand are located at the end of the text of the paper. The footnote should be indicated using a superscript number (the little number that appears on top of a letter). If using a word processing program this number will automatically appear when choosing the "insert footnote" option generally included in such programs. The number that is selected for the footnote should also match the number indicated in the bibliography. Numbers should start from one and may go back to one for each new section or chapter of the dissertation.
When using the Turabian styling guide, the full bibliographic information for the source is indicated at the first footnote for that source and then abbreviated for subsequent references. For example, if referencing a book, the footnote for the first entry would appear like this;
Author's full name, Book Title, ed., Trans., Series, Edition, Vol. Number (Place: Publisher, Year), Pages.

And if referenced later on in the text the same source would appear as;

Author's last name, Shortened Book Title, Page.
*Note that this is only one method of providing an abbreviated source for subsequent footnotes. Another technique that can be utilized is to simply type the author's name and the page number.
See below for an example of a book source in its natural sequence.

First Footnote:

John Doe, Humanity and Space. (New York: Huntington Press, 2010), 17-19.

Subsequent Footnotes:

Doe, Humanity, 24.
*Note that even though the page numbers changed the shortened version of the source can still be applied.

Bibliographic Listing

John Doe, Humanity and Space. New York: Huntington Press, 2010.
*Note that for the bibliography, the same source is written differently as compared to the first footnote. The parenthesis are no longer in place neither is there an indication of page numbers.

What are endnotes?

Endnotes are sometimes a good alternative to footnotes; and as mentioned earlier are also an option for the Turabian styling guide. Students may choose to use endnotes as a matter of personal preference or by request, as both can satisfy the same referencing goal. When using endnotes, instead of indicating the sources at the bottom of the page, sources would simply go at the end of the text of the paper on a separate page. The same subscript numbers used with footnotes should also be utilized and direct readers to the list of endnotes for a corresponding source referenced in the body of the paper.

Footnotes and Dissertations

In general there really is no difference between providing footnotes in dissertations as compared to other formal academic works. Though some institutions may put forth certain requirements, in most cases the function of the footnote is the same. In addition to citing sources; the footnote can be used to indicate specific opinions or useful notes that are not suitable for the text of the paper. As well as to make particular acknowledgements connected to the text being presented.
*Though these other uses should be practiced with a bit of caution, as having very lengthy and wordy footnote is not desirable. In most cases, if a lot needs to be said in a footnote, then the writer should identify whether or not that information would be better worked into the body of the paper or not mentioned at all.

Final thought

As a general reminder, footnotes as well as citations in general (whether through the bibliographic style or the reference style), should be provided anytime a writer presents ideas that are not his or her own. This may come in the form of paraphrasing, summarizing, or directly quoting material. In the above examples, the exact page numbers were used to cite direct quotes where the page ranges may have been used to represent a summary or paraphrase of an author's concepts and ideas.
Starting off, it may be hard to find your own unique ideas and developments as you read and review so many pieces of literature for your dissertation, but its important to understand that much of synthesization and craft of developing and shaping your own ideas is a product of being well-versed and well-read with regards to other people's ideas.
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