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Referencing and assignment writing: Traditional note

Referencing using the traditional note - bibliography system

Check with your lecturer that this style is acceptable.


How to Use the Note System

Use a superscript to mark points which require documentation or clarification. They are typed or written numbers raised slightly above the level of the surrounding text. For example: 'the text from which I have derived my ideas.'1 The numbers run consecutively, from 1, through the whole assignment. The numbers are placed as close as possible to the point to which you are drawing attention, generally at the end of the relevant sentence and generally following any punctuation marks.

A series of notes corresponding with the numbers are placed either at the foot of the page or at the end of the assignment. Whether you use footnotes or endnotes depends on the nature of your assignment.  Whether you are preparing your assignment on a word processor or handwriting, you will find either method easy to use, but footnotes are often handier from the reader's viewpoint. 

There are a number of circumstances when it is appropriate to use notes:

  • when you quote directly from a primary or a secondary text;
  • when you wish to direct the reader to sources which have influenced your argument or which substantiate your interpretation and provide support for your statements of opinion;
  • when you are paraphrasing another person's ideas;
  • when you are providing statistical information relevant to your argument;
  • when you wish to provide the reader with information which is related to the topic in hand, but which does not properly belong in the body of the assignment. (Note: This sort of noting should be used very sparingly.)

Your most frequent note references are likely to be to books, primary texts and  secondary sources, and serial articles.

Users of this Guide please note that while we have used italics to indicate the
titles of works, underlining of the title is also acceptable.


Style manual

The referencing recommendations in this guide are based on the Chicago manual of style. 15th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Please refer to Chapters 16 and 17 of that manual for further examples.

Traditional Note print friendly