How to Write End Notes

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The big idea

You cite your sources to prove to your reader where you got your information. In some instances, the reader may be so interested in what you wrote that he or she wants to read more about the topic. Citations tell where to find the same sources you used.

Before you begin

Be sure that you keep track of all necessary information AS YOU ARE DOING YOUR RESEARCH. Jot down the title of the book or magazine, author, publisher, date, and so on. Writing this stuff down as you go is one heck of a lot easier than going back to the library later on to hunt it all up.

How to do it

End notes are one way to show where you got your information for a research paper. End notes are not the same as a bibliography. Not, not, not.

What to cite:

  1. Everything that you quote
  2. Any fact that is not common knowledge
  3. Any conclusions reached by other people, a phrase which here means "intelligent things said or written by somebody--not you--that are based on mountains and mountains of study done on a particular topic"

Where to cite

At the end of each sentence. Here's what it looks like. Look for the little numbers hanging up in the air above the line. Those numbers tell you where to look on the end notes page to learn where each fact came from. I've made them red here so they stand out, but don't do that in your own papers. (When you're doing it, use "superscript" in your word processing program to get the numbers to float in the air.)

The sport of twenty-meter freestyle skunk kicking was invented by Bob Flob on March 25, 1957. Flob was angry at a skunk which had been chasing him as he rode his bike. "Leaping off his bicycle, Flob picked up the skunk, dropped it, and booted it through the air. Yowling in pain and fear, the skunk sailed cleanly between two telephone poles. A new sport was born."1 Since that day, skunk kicking has grown in popularity, and is now played in 93 countries.2 It was introduced as an Olympic sport in the summer games of 1992 in Barcelona, and a winter variation, skunk hockey, will make its appearance in the winter games of 2006.3 It has even been featured in a number of motion pictures, even though the blockbuster movie Flob changed some of the facts to make the story more interesting.4 Clearly, the sport has become an important part of societies the world over, in ways that nobody could have imagined on the day that Flob abused his first polecat.5 Of course, the sport has changed since Flob's day: the modern skunk-kicker uses an impressive array of safety equipment and the skunk can be either punted or kicked off a tee.

Where to document: at the end of the paper. End notes get their own page. At the end. That's why they're called end notes. Here's what it looks like:

  1. Smith, Spudley, A Foot, a Skunk, a Legend: The Bob Flob Story (New York: Odoreaters Press, 1987), p. 43.
  2. O'Williams, William W., "Skunk Kicking," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1974, Macropaedia.
  3. Kirk, James T., Everything You Never Wanted to Know About the Olympics (Hollister, CA: Earthquake Books, 1983), p. 100.
  4. Steven Spielberg, dir., Flob, with Hilary Duff and Arnold Schwartzeneggar.
  5. "Other People's Conclusions: The Web Site," http://www.pizzaface.com/conclusions/conclu.html.

Please note that there is a whole bunch of rules about what to put on the end notes page if, for example, you've already mentioned a book but you're using a fact from a different page. Ignore all those rules for right now. There's plenty of time for life to get complicated later.

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Copyright 1996-2004 by Michael Klingensmith

This page was last modified Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 12:04 AM