How to Footnote an Entire Paragraph

All borrowed opinion or fact used in scholarly articles or research papers that aren't in the realm of general knowledge must be credited in your work. Rather than quoting the source in its entirety each time it is cited, footnotes are used for a cleaner layout. In some circumstances, entire paragraphs can be cited as long as the entire paragraph belongs to only one source that isn't interrupted by a quotation. The format varies by each style that is determined by the instructor, publisher or employer. MLA and APA are two of the most common styles for research papers. Writers should heed the guidelines throughout the writing process to properly format citations.

Step 1

Ensure that the paragraph you are citing is from one source. Make a note of the exact page or pages you used in the paragraph. Each page will need to be listed in the footnote. Be sure that only one source is referenced, as the footnote needs to immediately proceed the information.

Step 2

Refer to your source guide to determine what style is preferred by the instructor, employer or publisher. Figure out how to format the citation using the style guide. This will vary by source type for each style. For example, in MLA style a lecture is formatted as follows: Name of the speaker. "Title." Sponsoring Institution or Group. Location, City. Date. The last name comes first, the numeral day is first and the month is abbreviated.

Step 3

Move the cursor to the end of the paragraph you will be citing. After the punctuation, navigate the document processor menu to find the footnotes. In Microsoft Word this is in the "Insert" menu listed as "Footnote." Create your preferred options in the drop-down menu and select "OK." A number will appear beside the referenced material.

Step 4

Add the source information in the footnote box at the bottom of the page. If you have not used the reference before in the paper, fully complete the citation according to style guidelines. If the source has been used before in your paper, use the abbreviated format of the preferred style.


Keep your style guide on hand to avoid incorrectly formatting your citations.

Every source used in your paper must be properly cited to avoid plagiarism.

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