How to Write Footnotes Well and the Full Explanation

How to Write a Footnote – Writing can be said to have become a culture until now because writing has been around for a long time, so it is very close to people’s lives. The writing activity itself is very diverse, one of which is writing scientific papers. In making scientific work, it is usually done through research first. Therefore, generally these scientific works are written by academics.

In writing scientific papers, originality is needed or does not follow scientific papers that have been written before. Currently, scientific works that are generally made by academics are generally in the form of scientific articles, journals, books, and so on. The existence of scientific work indicates that science will continue to experience development every time.

There are certainly many sources obtained in writing scientific papers, not even just from one medium, sometimes sources of scientific work data can be taken from several media, such as surveys, interviews, literature, and so on. Every data source used in writing scientific papers must be included in scientific papers.

Things like that must be done because it is a form of appreciation to the author for scientific work that has been made before. In addition, writing these data sources can also be useful for readers in finding relevant data sources when they want to make scientific work on the same topic of discussion.

The writing of this data source is usually done or made in the bibliography which is located at the end of the scientific work. However, writing this data source can also be written on the scientific paper page (not the last page) which is located at the bottom of the page. Writing data sources on the same page and located at the bottom is better known as a footnote or what many Indonesians call it, a footnote.

With footnotes, it becomes easier for readers to understand a term in a scientific work paragraph. Therefore, it can be said that footnotes are a source of reference used in writing scientific work. To understand more about footnotes or footnotes, you can see this review until it’s finished, OK?

Definition of Footnote (Footnote)

Before discussing more about footnotes, we need to know the meaning of the footnote itself. Footnote is a term taken from English with the name footnote . Therefore, until now there are those who prefer to call it a footnote or also a footnote . Even so, the two terms have something in common, namely providing a reference or reference to support the sharpness of scientific work.

Same with the location of the feet at the bottom of the body, the term footnote or footnote is located at the bottom of the page of a scientific work or book. Meanwhile, writing footnotes or footnotes is not the same as the text in the core of the page. In this case, what distinguishes it is the size of the footnotes with the text or content of scientific work. The size of the letters (font) in footnotes is smaller than the contents of scientific papers.

This is in line with the meaning of footnotes in the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), footnotes are information that is listed on the bottom margin of the book page (usually printed in smaller letters than the letters in the text to add references in the main text).

There is usually more than one footnote or footnote in a scientific work or book, so when writing footnotes you usually use information in the form of numbers. With this number, the reader will know the author’s intent for a term or sentence used as a support for scientific work. Sentences that are explained in footnotes, can be in the form of direct sentences and indirect sentences. The numbers in footnotes are better known as subscripts. 

With footnotes or footnotes, the authenticity of a scientific work is increasingly proven, so that it can avoid plagiarism. That way, the content or material in scientific work can be accounted for. Therefore, not a few people use footnotes when writing scientific papers or books. So, are you one of those people who uses footnotes when writing scientific papers?

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Sometimes making scientific work is very difficult for beginners, so they really need guidelines or guides. Don’t worry, the  Guide to Writing Scientific Papers is perfect for those of you beginners who want to write scientific papers. What’s more, the language used in this book is very easy to understand, so it will be easier to apply the steps for writing scientific papers.

Footnote Elements

In how to write footnotes , makers of scientific papers need to know the elements of footnotes first. By knowing the elements of footnotes, it becomes easier to write footnotes. Following are the elements of footnotes.

Author or Author Name

When writing footnotes , there must be an element of the author’s name or authors from the quotations in scientific works. Even though the author has a title, the title does not need to be written. In other words, the creator of the footnote only writes the author’s name.

Post Title

The second element, namely the title of the text of the quotation used. The title of this article must be clear and pay attention to PUEBI rules. Therefore, on this element, footnote makers, must be careful.

Publication Year

After the title of the article, the next footnote element is the year of publication. In this case, the year of publication in question is the year the quotation or reference source used in the scientific work was published. The year of publication can also be interpreted as the year the reference source was published (generally in a journal or scientific article).

Citation Page Number

The last element in making footnotes is the page number of the quotation used. In addition, writing this page, can also be shortened to “things” which is then followed by the number of the page. With this page number, it becomes easier for the reader to find the reference source used.

If seen at a glance, the elements of these footnotes are almost the same as the elements in the bibliography. In addition, all the elements of footnotes that have been mentioned must be present when writing footnotes.

Purpose of Making Footnotes

The purpose of writing footnotes or footnotes as follows:

1. To Submit Additional Information

Footnotes are made for the purpose of providing additional information. In this case, it can be said that with footnotes, it can clarify the intent or answer to the topic of the problem in scientific work.

2. To Strengthen Scientific Work Data

Each scientific work is expected to be sharper, more detailed, and more complex. To do that, it needs to be supported by a valid data source followed by writing a footnote . With footnotes or footnotes , the description of the material in scientific work becomes stronger and sharper.

3. As Proof of Data 

The third purpose of writing footnotes is to prove data. In making scientific work certainly cannot be separated from the use of data sources. Therefore, in order for the data used to have validity, it is necessary to write footnotes. In addition, with footnotes, it further strengthens scientific work that can be accounted for.

4. As Reference Material 

Quotations in scientific papers come from predetermined references. In addition, these references make scientific work stronger. Therefore, to make it easier for readers to find out the reference sources used by scientific work authors, footnotes are made.

5. Appreciate the Author or Author 

The fifth function of writing a footnote is to appreciate the author or authors whose work is used as a reference source. In addition, by making footnotes, we (as authors of scientific papers) can respect one another.

Those are some of the purposes of writing footnotes or footnotes. After knowing the purpose, you should not forget to use footnotes in writing scientific papers.

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Footnote Type

There are two types of footnotes, namely complete footnotes and short footnotes.

Complete Footnotes

Complete footnotes are footnotes written in full. A complete footnote consists of several elements, such as the author’s name, book title, serial number (if any), print number, publisher name, year of publication, and page number.

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Short Footnotes

Short footnotes are footnotes that only consist of a few elements, short footnotes are still divided into 3 forms, namely Ibid, Op.cit, and Loc.cit. Ibid stands for Ibdium or means the same as above. Op.cit is an abbreviation of opere citato which means works that have been cited. Loc.cit is an abbreviation of loco citato which means a place that has been cited.

Footnote Function

Besides having a purpose, footnotes also have several functions, including:

1. To add information to scientific work

As previously explained, footnotes are a description of the quotations in scientific work. Therefore, by making footnotes, it serves to add information to scientific work. With this additional information, a discussion in a scientific work becomes sharper and more complex.

2. To provide information on a discussion

Besides functioning to add information to scientific work, footnotes also function to provide information on a discussion. In this case, the information referred to is usually in the form of a direct quote or an indirect quote. The existence of these footnotes makes it easier for readers to find sources of reference on a particular topic.

3. For Evidence of Data Sources

The final function of writing footnotes is to prove data sources. Without evidence of data sources in scientific work, the data sources used are invalid. Footnotes that function as proof of data sources can explain where the data source comes from (author, year of publication, page number, and title of the data source). That way, readers find it easier to find data sources in a scientific work.

From several footnote functions , it can be said that this footnote can make it easy for readers to find data sources that they want to use on a particular scientific work topic.

Abbreviations in Footnotes

Some of the abbreviations that are often used when writing footnotes or footnotes, namely:

1. Op. Cit

The abbreviation Op.Cit comes from the Latin, namely Opere Citato which means is on works that have been cited.

2. Loc. Cit

Loc.Cit comes from the Latin, namely Loco Citato which means at the place that has been quoted.

3. Ibid

Ibid is an abbreviated footnote which comes from the Latin word ibdiem which means the same place.

4. Supras

Supra is the term footnote that is generally used because it comes first in the same text.

5. Infra

Infra is a footnote term that is commonly used by looking at the same article or writing (quotation) at the bottom.

6. Et. seq

Et.seq is a footnote term derived from the abbreviation et sequences which means next pages.

7. Cf or conf

Cf or conf footnote terms with meaning compared to.

8. Passim

Passim is a footnote term meaning compilation.

9. c. or ca.

c. or ca. is a footnote term derived from the abbreviation circa which means around the year.

How to Write Footnotes

Basically, how to write footnotes is divided based on the source of the quote, including:

How to Write a Footnote from a Journal

Footnotes from journals are written beginning with the author’s citation number Author’s name, Article title (italics), volume, journal name, year of publication, page number.

10 Muhammad, Islamic Bank Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, and Threats, Student Library

3 Adnan Buyung Nasution, Some Legal Aspects in Defense and Settlement Issues in Big Cities , in “Eko Budiharjo, A Number of Urban Settlement Problems,” (Bandung: Alumni, 1992).

How to Write a Footnote of a Book

How to write a footnote for a book starting with the author’s first name, last name, book title (italics), book edition (publishing city, publisher name, year), page cited.

¹ Sri Utami et al, English Level 5 (Yogyakarta: PT. sinaumedia: 2003), p. 5.

How to Write a Footnote from the Internet

How to write a footnote from the internet starting from the author’s name, “Title of work cited” (italics, url, access date, year, and page.

UNESCO, Indonesia Batik , accessed on 27 January 2021.

How to Write a Footnote of a Thesis

Footnotes from the thesis begin with the author’s citation number Author’s name, “Title of thesis work (italicized)” (City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication), Page Source of Citation

Muryid Rahman, Thesis: The Development of Middle and Lower Economic Structures After Studying Information Technology Skills,  (Yogyakarta: UGM, 2005), Hal. 85.


A footnote is a description that is located at the bottom of a scientific work or book which has the main function of providing information on the quotations that have been used. Therefore, with these footnotes, reference sources can be found easily, especially for readers of scientific papers. In fact, the reference source can also be used by readers with certain topics.

In addition to easy-to-find reference sources, footnotes also make scientific work more accountable because each data source is valid and avoids plagiarism. Writing footnotes can be said to be tricky because you have to pay attention to several elements. However, if you get used to writing them, it will be easier to make footnotes.

After knowing more about footnotes, when will you use footnotes in writing scientific papers?