Table Footnotes: Source, Specific and Probability Notes
Technically speaking, there are four different kinds of footnotes that appear at the bottom of the tables so frequently used to present data in academic and especially scientific writing. The general notes are usually the first category under any given table and tend to apply to the table as a whole. I have commented on them in a separate posting. The other three kinds of table footnotes are source notes, notes on specific parts of a table and probability notes. A little practical advice on their uses and contents may also prove helpful to scholarly readers and writers.
Source notes can be included among the general notes, especially if they are short, but they often constitute a separate category and can either follow or precede the general notes. They usually open with the word ‘Source’ or ‘Sources,’ which is often set in italic font, although bold font or block capitals are sometimes used. The word is followed by either a full stop or a colon, with the punctuation matching that following the word ‘Note’ or ‘Notes’ that precedes the general notes if there are any. Font and punctuation should remain consistent across all tables included in a document. Source notes provide references for any material in the table that has been borrowed from another work. Source references can be provided in shortened forms via whatever documentation method or style is used in the rest of the document (parenthetical, for instance, or numerical) as long as each source used in the table is included in the list of references or bibliography. Otherwise, full bibliographical references should be provided in the source footnotes.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
Notes on specific parts of tables usually follow general and source notes and are like true footnotes in that they are keyed to specific words, symbols and numbers within the table. To avoid confusion, the system of indicators used in a table must be separate and different from that used for any footnotes or endnotes that appear in the main body of a document, but the same system should be used (wholly or partially as relevant) in all tables requiring notes on specific parts. Arabic numerals can therefore be used if numbered notes are not used elsewhere in the document, but if there are already numbered notes in the main text, it is best if the table notes take another form, such as superscript lowercase letters or a collection of specific characters. It is essential that these characters cannot be confused with other characters and symbols in the table(s), however, and the asterisk (*) should definitely not be used if probability notes are also required. A table should be read across the rows from top left to bottom right when providing indicators within the table and arranging the specific notes at the bottom. Such notes can be attached to any element of a table requiring explanation except the main table heading (footnotes are usually discouraged on all main headings) and probability and significance levels.
Probability notes follow all other table footnote categories. Like notes on specific parts of a table, they use a system of indicators, but one that specifies p values via the number of asterisks attached to a numeral and is generally explained with a note of this kind: ‘*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.’ Note that the ‘p’ is usually lowercase and set in italic font (though that font may not be retained in this posting), zeroes are normally omitted before the decimal point and spaces generally appear around the ‘<’ symbol, though all three of these details can vary as long as consistency is maintained for each element throughout a document. As with the notes on specific parts of a table, probability notes should be added by reading along the rows of a table from left to right and top to bottom, and whatever system and precise formats are applied in one table should also be used in all other relevant tables included in the manuscript.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At Proof-Reading-Service.com we pride ourselves on our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. Our proofreaders and editors are highly educated native speakers of English and their areas of specialisation range so widely that we are able to help our clients improve and perfect all kinds of research manuscripts for successful publication. Many members of our team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, ensuring that formatting and references conform to author guidelines with precision and correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and simple typing errors so that our customers are able to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions editors and earn publication.
Our editing services for authors of scientific papers and books are especially popular, but we have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit books in every scholarly discipline as well as beyond them, and some of our carefully trained proofreaders and editors work exclusively on helping students improve the formatting and language of their theses and dissertations. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation or publication, polishing a professional report to share with your colleagues, or tackling the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of academic or scientific document, a qualified member of our expert team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work. Our translation services for scientific and academic documents have also proven immensely helpful for many of our international clients.