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Did you complete your dissertation, or about to complete it? Well, it doesn’t matter a lot. The one thing that matters is the formatting of your thesis. In formatting, two of the most important things are footnotes and in-text citations. This is because if you are going to use someone else’ ideas and opinions, you have to give him credit. You always have to mention the source of your data. If you won’t mention the source, then it is considered academic theft, i.e. plagiarism.

So, you should mention your source of information in your dissertation. But there is a proper method of doing it. Citations and footnotes and are the two methods to do this. Both are different methods, but sometimes, researchers confuse both terms. In this article, we will get to know about the differences between these two terms.

According to the dissertation writing service firm, before jumping straight into difference, let’s define the terms. A footnote is a note that emerges at the foot or bottom of a page. Footnotes can include not only bibliographic information but also extra information and the author’s opinions. You might see a superscript number within the body of the text. Authors use this number when a specific fact is retrieved from another source. You’ll find the related comment or information about that particular fact at the bottom of the page.

For example, the text in the research can look like this;

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

The author will provide information related to superscript number 1 at the bottom of the page.

Whereas an in-text citation indicates the source of your data. It informs the readers where the ideas and information came from. The author does it within the text. When it comes to adding in-text citations to your writing, you can choose from various available styles. One technique is to state the name of the author(s) and the year of publication. In APA style, uses this procedure.

For example, you might see a text like this in a thesis.

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

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 Differences Between Footnotes And Citations

As described in the introduction part of this article that footnotes and citations are two different terms. They differ from each other in many aspects. Some of the aspects are as follows;

1.      Type of Information

The ultimate goal is to transfer information to your readers. To achieve this purpose, authors use different methods and styles. So, in this guide, we will only talk about the difference in the type of information delivered by in-text citations and footnotes.


The in-text citation gives information about the source of the data. In simple words, we can say that they contain bibliographic information. The bibliographic information is the set of sources that you used in your research. In general, the in-text citations contain information related to the author’s name and year of publication of research.


Now, let’s define the type of information in the context of the footnotes. Footnotes can contain bibliographic information too. But in addition, they contain the comments of the author and some additional information on key terms. They can also contain the opinion of the author.

2.      Style Guides

A huge difference lies in the style of citations and footnotes. Both the terms have their own style of writing in the research. Let’s discuss each term separately.


Authors can employ in-text citations in almost all styles. The styles of the citations include APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. Their style differs from author to author. They cal also differ based on the demands of the journal. Some journals might demand APA style citations, and some Harvard. Hence, citations are allowed in all styles.


Footnotes face some restrictions in the style guides. Authors can’t use footnotes in APA style. APA does not recommend the use of footnotes unless it is necessary. Whereas MLA allows limited use of footnotes in writing. The reason for this is that footnotes often take too much space at the bottom of the page. On the contrary, in-text citations don’t eat that much space.

3.      Location

Both the terms also differ in their location. This thing is pretty simple, but there is something to keep in mind. The difference is as below.


As the name suggests, that authors use citations in the text of the writing. They are typically placed at the end of a quotation, sentence or paragraph. The whole information of the citation lies in the bibliographic section. In-text citations are just there in the text to acknowledge the work of the author.


The director of essay writing services firm said that the location of the footnote is bottom of the page. It is where the author can present the information about the superscript number.

Pros and Cons of Footnotes


  • As footnotes are at the end of the page, they are easy to find.
  • They also provide necessary information instantly. You don’t need to look for them in the whole document.


  • Using too many footnotes can make your pages clutter.
  • Too many footnotes can also affect the readability of your document.

Pros and Cons of Citations


  • It is very concise and also provides relevant information about the source in a simple way
  • It brings out a solid document. Because no one can sue you in court for academic theft


  • As they depend on the style of citation, some citations can clutter the page of your document


In the end, I would say an author should have proper knowledge about differences in footnotes and in-text citations.  There lies a huge difference between both the terms. From the differences mentioned above, we can infer that both terms also rely on writing style. Their use depends on which writing style you have adopted. These differences are not the final words. You can search for other contrasts too on the internet. Some websites can assist you in the direct creation of citations and footnotes.