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Footnoting: Home

Guide to footnoting for assignments

What is footnoting?

Using a numbering system where numbers are put at the end of the quote/paraphrase and a corresponding number is put at the bottom of the page with the reference information. The reference is ALSO included in the List of References or Bibliography at the end of your assignment or essay.

Footnoting is used in History but not in all subjects; Geography, for example, uses in text citation. Check with your teacher in other subjects to know what their expectation is.

At CGGS we have adapted the APA style for referencing.  Details and examples can be found in the updated versions of our Guidelines documents: Guidelines for Written Work Years 7-10  and Guidelines for Essays Reports and Assignments Years 11 and 12.

When to use a footnote 

Footnotes are to be inserted in the following situations:

  • when directly quoting another source
  • when paraphrasing: this is not directly quoting, but when you draw on another author’s ideas and put them in your own words. 

Eg. when you have used another author’s idea or claim to influence your own ideas, conclusions and/or argument.   

  • when including specific information such as statistics and facts that are not commonly known

           Eg. “Sydney is a city in Australia” WOULD NOT require a footnote.  However, “the population of Sydney is 

           approximately 4.9 million” WOULD require a footnote.

  • you should avoid making generalisations or sweeping statements that are broad and not validated with evidence in your essay, but if you do make such a claim you need to also insert a footnote.

           Eg. Many authors claim that Hitler was largely responsible for the outbreak of World War Two.

           This type of claim would require a footnote. 

  • In general, if you are unsure as to whether to insert a footnote, it is safer to insert a footnote than to not include one where one might be necessary.  Always seek advice from your teacher or teacher librarian if you need any assistance.


Example paragraph:

From the very outset the AAPA was to set a precedent for Aboriginal protest groups. Its aim was to improve the material conditions of Aboriginal people and end political oppression.1 

(nb. the number at the end of the sentence is a superscript - reduced size, raised above the rest of the text)


(then, at foot of page: )



1 S. Turnbull. (2004). Samurai: The story of Japan’s noble warriors. London, England: PRC Publishing. p.8. 

 (and in the List of References/Bibliography: )

Turnbull, S. (2004). Samurai: The story of Japan’s noble warriors. London, England: PRC Publishing.


(note that the author's surname and initials are reversed for the List of References/Bibliography, and the page number is not included).


  • Op. Cit. – from the Latin opere citato, means “in the work cited”.


    When using the footnote style, you only need to give the full source details in the first citation. You may then use “op. cit.” or a shortened title for any subsequent reference to a source already cited. Shortened titles are advised.


    Examples of footnotes using “op. cit.”:

    1 J. Healey. (Ed.). (2004). Ocean conservation. Thirroul, NSW: The Spinney Press. pp. 16-17.


    2 B. Lomborg. (1998). The skeptical environmentalist. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 289.


    3 Healey. op. cit. p. 29.


    4 Lomborg. op. cit. p. 260.


    Internet examples:

    Site with author: Author. op. cit. title of page.

    Site with a corporate author: Corporate author. op. cit. Title of page.

    Eg. National Gallery of Australia. op. cit. Current Exhibitions.

 Ibid. – from the Latin ibidem meaning “from the same place”.

If you cite from source previously cited, with no other citation in between, you can use “ibid.” instead of “op. cit.” to mean that the citation is from the source you last cited.

Examples of footnotes using “ibid.”:

1 C. Harrison et al. (2002). Thinking through science. London: John Murray. p. 52.

2 Ibid. p. 25.

3 Ibid. p. 81.

Shortened title

  • A shortened title is used where there is no author, or instead of op. cit. or ibid.

Additional Tips

  •  Ibid should begin with a capital I if it is the first part of the footnote.
  • When footnoting only include the name of the first author (as it appears on the title page) and then write et al.

1 J. Brown et al. (2019). History in colourCambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.43.

  • Changes that have to be made to the first citation in order to include information in a bibliography:

    • When the footnotes are entered in the bibliography, you can cut and paste the first citation for each item, but since bibliographies are alphabetical, you need to:

    • Change each item with an author so that the surname comes first.

    • Items without an author are entered alphabetically in the list, using the first word that isn’t “A”, “An” or “The”.

  • If you want to footnote multiple sources at once, use this example as a guide, separating each source with 'and':

1 R. M. Schwartz. (1992). Nationals and nationalism: Adultery in the House of David. Critical Inquiry. 19(1). pp. 131-32.  and D. N. Freedman and J. C. Geoghegan. (1995). History of David is there. Biblical Archaeology Review. 21(2). p. 79.