Research paper footnotes are used for various purposes. The purpose of the footnotes depends upon the style of writing used for your assignment. Hence before using footnotes, it is necessary to find out what is the intended purpose of the footnote in the particular style you are using. APA style of documentation forbids the use of footnotes for bibliographical reference purposes.
It is always necessary to keep a style manual in hand for reference while handling academic assignments. The numerous clauses and rules which are listed in the guidelines are not easy to remember even though you will learn it gradually while handling research paper assignments. The APA style does not approve of the use of research paper footnotes for the purpose of citing your sources.
However, there are exceptional circumstances where footnotes are allowed in the style. The APA style guidelines mention two occasions which would justify the use of footnotes; content and copyright.
Content refers to any additional information on any of the points in the text, which may not be relevant enough to be included in the research paper. It could be the information on a place or a person mentioned in your assignment. But remember that the points mentioned in the footnotes should be those which are not there in the research paper. Do not repeat the points discussed in the research paper, in the footnotes. There is no particular format for writing a content footnote. The number should be added as a superscript on the right side of the word. The footnote should be linked to the word by the same number as mentioned next to the word. But the number will appear on the right side of the content note. The use of footnotes for this purpose also saves the writer from the risk of accidental digression. It also helps the writer to write smoothly without distracting the reader by moving away from the main point to include the extra information.
While referring to sources and quoting them, you need to adhere to the copyright laws. If you are using a direct quotation of more than 500 words from a source, it goes beyond the permitted limit for use without the author’s permission. In such cases you will have to get prior approval from the author for the use or reproduction of the article. This will have to be mentioned through the footnotes. The footnotes will state the title of the article, the name of the author, the year of publishing and the copyright of the author. It will also state that the article has been reprinted with permission.
The research paper footnotes in APA style can alternately be placed as endnotes in a separate page. This will be attached after the research paper and before the reference page. But make sure that you don’t accidentally give bibliographical data in the footnotes in an APA style research paper.
Research paper footnotes are helpful in many ways. But you should make sure that its use is allowed by the style of writing you are using, before including them in your research paper. If you are finding it difficult to understand the clauses regarding the use of footnotes in your APA style research paper, consult your instructor before proceeding with it.