Social Sciences: End Notes and Footnotes

Government, History, Legal Studies, Medieval Studies, Middle Eastern Studies - and all Social Sciences concentrations other than International Relations - use footnotes or endnotes.  

  • The style of your footnotes/endnotes should follow what is outlined in the Notes & Bibliography section of the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), 16th edition
  • On the first citation of an item in a footnote or endnote, provide the full bibliographical information:

            [1] [Author’s first name] [Author’s last name], [Title of Book: Subtitle of Book] (City: Publisher, Year) [page].

            [2] [Author’s first name] [Author’s last name], [“Title of Article: Subtitle of Article”] [Title of Journal] [volume number], [issue number] (year): [page].

  • Indent the first line of each footnote
  • Single-space your footnotes within each footnote, but double-space between footnotes
  • Make sure footnotes appear on the same page as the equivalent superscript numerals in the text
    • You can accomplish this by going to “Edit” on the menu toolbar, then clicking on Select All
    • Then go to “Format” and “Paragraph” - underline spacing, select “Exactly” instead of “Double Space” and set the spacing to 26 points
    • Then go back through your text to reset text that should be single-spaced
  • Avoid use of “ibid.,” “op. cit.,” and so forth
    • CMS requires one to provide the author’s last name, short title of work, and page number in second and subsequent references to the same work: e.g., Pineo, Useful Strangers, 871.
  • Issue numbers of journals should be presented with a comma after the volume, a space, and “no.”
    • For example: Pacific Affairs 79, no. 2 (2006): 205.
  • Chicago Manual of Style requires author’s last name and short form of title for second and subsequent references to an item in the footnotes: e.g., Pineo, Useful Strangers, 871.
  • According to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, p. 736: “Titles of foreign-language articles, like foreign book titles, are usually capitalized sentence-style (see 8.156) but according to the conventions of the particular language (see 14.107).”
  • Following the recommendation of the Chicago Manual of Style, the Guide to the ALM Thesis recommends lower-casing all prepositions in titles (even those prepositions that are five letters and longer)
  • Do not use all caps for titles; instead, use both upper and lower case lettering - the exception is an abbreviation
  • Footnote numbering should be consecutive throughout the thesis, not begin over again at “1” with each new chapter
  • Do not put two footnotes at the same spot - combine the references into one footnote
  • Make sure the footnote superscript numbers in the text are flush against the preceding period or other mark of punctuation
    • This stipulation is to prevent the placing of the footnote number on a separate line from the text it is referring to
  • In the footnotes, the author’s name is given in normal order (i.e., first name first, last name last)
    • Only in the bibliography are first and last names reversed
  • Note that URLs are not underlined, and they should not be in a different color - in other words, eliminate hyperlinks
  • Whenever possible, supply the name of the website, author, and date accessed
  • You can break the URL in a footnote to fill in a line - CMS recommends that the break occur at a slash rather than a period, so it does not look like the end of a sentence
  • Although style manuals often recommend an abbreviation system for representing inclusive numbers, we recommend no abbreviation, so as to avoid any ambiguity
    • An abbreviation system will be permitted if it is done consistently throughout
  • Cite items in the footnotes in such a way that they can be found in your bibliography - examples:
    • If you cite Historical Register in your footnotes, don’t list it under “Harvard University” in your bibliography
    • When citing a collection of letters or documents, list it either under the title of the collection or under the editor(s) in both places, but not under one in one place and under another in the other


  • Published works often use italics to represent titles of books, journals, newspapers, etc., as well as for emphasizing words in the text
  • For your thesis, should you underline (for emphasis) or italicize, as with published text?
  • We recommend italics, but underlining is still quite respectable for your thesis
  • Please, however, don’t use both in the same thesis - unless you have a special reason for doing so