If in a footnote I write something like, "For more on the debate, see... so and so"

Does that work I referenced in the footnote go on the bibliography page even if I did not reference this work directly in the essay?

  • 4
    Answer: yes. There's really nothing to add to it.
    – user68958
    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:43
  • 3
    @corey979 Actually, there's quite a lot to add. We shouldn't encourage people to try to memorize rules but, rather, to understand why things are done the way they are. I suspect that rule-based thinking is exactly the problem that caused this question to be asked. Dec 7, 2018 at 14:28

3 Answers 3


You did reference it, it is in the document, so of course it goes into the bibliography.

Imagine the other way round: Someone reads the text, finds it interesting, sees that there is more to be found about this topic in a source and then can't find said source...


You referenced the work in your footnote. Your footnote is part of your essay. Therefore, you referenced the work in your essay.

But, really, I want to take issue with what seems to be the premise of your question. It seems to me that you're thinking in terms of rules: "I must include something in my bibliography if it meets condition X, Y or Z." This is the wrong way to think about almost every creative act, such as writing an essay.

Instead, consider why we have a bibliography at all. First, it's so that the reader can find full details of every source that you use, so that they can also refer to those sources. OK, so you could give the full details in your footnote. Using a bibliography also has the advantage that it means that somebody can see at a glance what your sources are, which doesn't work if some of your sources are in the bibliography and some are elsewhere. Also, a reader is likely to expect that all your sources will be in the bibliography, if there is one.

Also, consider what the reader will expect.


"Is it likely to help the reader?" is a good way to approach many writing questions.

In this case if the footnote is helpful then the bibliography entry is just as helpful. If the footnote isn't helpful it shouldn't exist. What would be unhelpful is effectively saying to your reader: "For more, see a piece of work I'm only going to hint at."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .