Difference Between Citation and Footnote

Main Difference – Citation vs Footnote

In the standard practice of writing, whenever you are using someone else’s ideas, opinions or findings, etc., you always have to mention the source from where you obtained that information. Using someone else’s ideas and not mentioning the sources is considered an academic theft, which is known as plagiarism. However, the sources also have to be included in your paper in a systematic way;  citation and footnotes are two methods of doing this. The main difference between citation and footnote is that citation is generally included in the text itself whereas footnotes are given at the bottom of the page.Difference Between Citation and Footnote - infographic

What is a Citation

A citation indicates the source of your information. It tells the readers from where you took the ideas and information. This is done in the text itself. There are different style guides for adding citations to your work.  Stating the name of the author/s and the year of publication is one such method. This method is followed in APA style.

Research into folklore began to emerge as an independent discipline during the period of romantic nationalism in Europe. (Noyes, 2012)

This can also be phrased as,

As Noyes (2012) states, Research into folklore began to emerge as an independent discipline during the period of romantic nationalism in Europe.

However, on MLA referencing style, the page number replaces the year of publication. For example,

Research into folklore began to emerge as an independent discipline during the period of romantic nationalism in Europe. (Noyes 13)

Noyes states, Research into folklore began to emerge as an independent discipline during the period of romantic nationalism in Europe. (13)

Difference Between Citation and Footnote

What is a Footnote

A footnote is found at the bottom or foot of the page.  Footnotes can not only indicate bibliographic information, but they can also add additional information and comments of the writer.

When a specific fact is obtained from another source, a superscript number can be found within the body of the text. The corresponding comment or information will be found at the foot of the page. For example, the text will look something like this.

Research into folklore began to emerge as an independent discipline during the period of romantic nationalism in Europe.1  The study of folklore is termed as Folkloristics although many people are           unaware of the existence of this academic field. Folklorists gather data by studying the folklores                      first; then they engage in fieldwork which includes interviewing people.

A corresponding note will be at the end of the page, containing bibliographic information or additional comments. For example, look at the following image.Main Difference -Citation vs Footnote                                                                                                     ⇓Difference Between Citation and Footnote - 1

However, footnotes are not allowed in all style guides. The APA style guide, for example, does not recommend the use of footnotes and endnotes.

Difference Between Citation and Footnote

Definition

Citation refers to a quotation from or reference to a book, paper, or author, especially in an academic work.

Footnote refers to a piece of information printed at the bottom of a page.

Type of Information

Citation contains bibliographical information.

Footnote can contain bibliographical information, author’s comment or additional information.

Style Guides

Citation is allowed in all style guides.

Footnote is not allowed in APA style.

location

Citation is done in the text itself.

Footnote is included at the bottom of the page.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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