What Are Endnotes, Why Are They Needed, and How Are They Used?

Experts Give Good Examples for More Effective Writing

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An "endnote" is a reference, explanation, or comment placed at the end of an article, research paper, chapter, or book. Like footnotes (which are used in this article), endnotes serve two main purposes in a research paper: (1) They acknowledge the source of a quotation, paraphrase, or summary; and (2) They provide explanatory comments that would interrupt the flow of the main text.

Endnotes vs. Footnotes

"Your department may specify whether you should use footnotes or endnotes, especially for a thesis or dissertation.

If not, you should generally choose footnotes, which are easier to read. Endnotes force readers to flip to the back to check every citation. On the other hand, choose endnotes when your footnotes are so long or numerous that they take up too much space on the page, making your report unattractive and difficult to read. Also, endnotes better accommodate tables, quoted poetry, and other matter that requires special typography."

(Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th ed., University of Chicago Press, 2007.)

"Readers of academic and scholarly books usually prefer footnotes to endnotes because the former allows them to skim the notes without losing their place in the text. Popular wisdom, however, says that nonscholarly readers are either reluctant or unwilling to purchase a nonfiction trade book whose feet are hemmed with ribbons of tiny type; thus most trade books place (the shop term is 'bury') the notes containing sources and references at the back of the book."

(Einsohn, Amy. The Copyeditor's Handbook, University of California Press, 2006.)

Endnote Conventions

"An author or title mentioned in the text need not be repeated in the footnote citation, though it is often helpful to do so. In an endnote, however, the author (or at least the author's last name) and title should be repeated, since at least some readers may have forgotten whether the note number was 93 or 94 by the time they find it at the back of a work.

Such frustration can be prevented by the devices illustrated in the examples below."

34. This and the preceding four quotations are all from Hamlet, act 1, sc. 4.
87. Barbara Wallraff, Word Court (New York: Harcourt, 2000), 34. Further citations to this work are given in the text.​

(​The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press, 2003.)

Endnote Numbering

"Endnotes are numbered consecutively throughout a chapter or article, with each new chapter or section starting over with endnote 1. The notes section at the back is then broken down by chapter or section, with the corresponding endnote numbers listed underneath.

Place endnote numbers within the text in superscript type (small typeset above the line). In the notes section, use the same number to identify the endnote with the number in the text."

(Robbins, Lara M. Grammar, and Style at Your Fingertips, Alpha, 2007.)

Sample Endnotes From Pennebaker's 'The Secret Life of Pronouns'

"Chapter 2: Ignoring the Content, Celebrating the Style
19. The drawing is from the Thematic Apperception Test by Henry A. Murray, Card 12F, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.
20. Throughout this book, I include quotations from people who have been in my studies or classes, from text on the Internet, or even from conversations or e-mails from friends or family members. In all cases, all identifying information has been removed or altered.
22. In this book, the terms style, function, and stealth words are used interchangeably. They have many other names as well — junk words, particles, and closed-class words. Linguists tend to disagree about the precise definitions of each of these overlapping terms."

(Pennebaker, James W. The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us, Bloomsbury Press, 2011.)

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Nordquist, Richard. "What Are Endnotes, Why Are They Needed, and How Are They Used?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/endnote-research-paper-1690650. Nordquist, Richard. (2023, April 5). What Are Endnotes, Why Are They Needed, and How Are They Used? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/endnote-research-paper-1690650 Nordquist, Richard. "What Are Endnotes, Why Are They Needed, and How Are They Used?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/endnote-research-paper-1690650 (accessed June 7, 2023).