Chicago Style Format. The Chicago Manual of Style in 5 pages

The Chicago format is one of the most widely used style manuals. It contains comprehensive instructions for formatting, referencing, and citing works that ought to be published. In this article, the expert team from EssayPro will share exhaustive information on the Chicago Manual of Style with a detailed guide on how to format a Chicago style paper. Keep reading to learn how to write in Chicago/Turabian style with ease.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is a compilation of formatting, referencing, and citing rules applied to works written in American English (mostly) and published in historical or social sciences journals. The manual was created by the University of Chicago Press and the first version was released in 1906. Currently, at the time of this writing, it is on its 17th edition.

The guidelines for this style of formatting were shaped for professionals in social sciences who publish their articles in journals, magazines, etc. An alternative to Chicago style that is geared more for students and researchers is Turabian format. It consists of slightly different requirements for citing and formatting academic papers. This style also applies to papers written in social sciences—in particular: History, Business, Fine Art, etc.

In contrast to many other formats, the Chicago Manual of Style suggests that authors use two different systems for citing sources: the Notes-Bibliography System and the Author-Date System.

The Notes-Bibliography method requires placing numbered footnotes in the text with shortened versions of citations located at the bottom of the page. The full citations are then gathered on a separate Bibliography page at the end of the document. This method of documenting sources is the most preferred one for documents in the humanities disciplines.

The second method, the Author-Date System, requires writers to include parenthetical citations in the text after a quotation or any other borrowed information. Citations in parentheses should include the last name of the original source’s author, the year when it was published, and the page where the information you’ve used can be found in the source. Every citation needs to have a relevant entry on a References page at the end of the paper. Unlike the Notes-Bibliography method, the Author-Date System is applied to papers in sciences and social sciences.

As it was said, the Chicago format is closely interlinked with another style manual called Turabian. It is a referencing and citing system shaped on the basis of the Chicago style. This format was named after its author — Kate Turabian, from the University of Chicago. This format is most often used for writing papers in social sciences, for example, Economics.

How Are Chicago and Turabian Styles Different?

In a nutshell, Kate Turabian adapted the Chicago style for students and researchers. Thus, the main difference is that the Turabian style is simpler, shorter, and contains fewer requirements. In particular, it doesn’t contain any instructions on publishing since, unlike the Chicago style which is created for professionals who publish their works, the Turabian style was created to guide students while writing papers and essays. Still, most of the guidelines applicable to the Chicago paper format would be the same for a Turabian style paper, so, with the help of this article, you can write in both styles.

What are the main elements of a Chicago format paper? Both the Chicago and Turabian styles imply that the author should divide his document into three parts: Title Page (cover page), Main Body, and Bibliography.

General Rules

Here is a list of general guidelines applicable to every Chicago style essay:

  • Font: Clear and easy to read, the preferred fonts are Times New Roman or Courier
  • Font Size: Generally not less than 10pt, but preferably 12pt
  • Space: Doubled everywhere except within block quotes, table titles, notes, figure captions, and bibliography or References entries
  • Spaces Between Paragraphs: None
  • Margins: Not less than 1”
  • Chicago Style Page Numbers: Placed at the top right corner of each page excluding the title page, so the first page of the main body should be numbered at 1
  • Footnotes: Should be assigned on quoted or paraphrased passages if you use the Notes-Bibliography method.

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Chicago Style Cover Page

The title page, or cover page, is the main introduction to your work, and spacing is its crucial aspect. You should ask your teacher for specific details on how to structure your title page, but the general guidelines on how to structure a Chicago cover page are:

  • The title of the paper or article should be placed one third below the top of the page and centered.
  • The document’s title should be followed by the author’s name, class information, and the date (all placed several lines below the title).
  • All double-spaced.
  • If you need to include a subtitle as well, end the title line with a colon and type the subtitle on the following line.

Note: While all documents written in the Chicago style should have a title page, this rule may not always apply to papers written in Turabian style. Academic papers that follow this style guide may either include a title page or provide the document’s title on the first page, followed by the main body. However, if your professor demands including a cover page, the rules mentioned above apply as well.

Chicago Style in Text Citation

Main Body

The main body of the Chicago style paper is the biggest part of the paper and it’s where authors share their main ideas and information on a specific topic. The Chicago Manual of Style suggests a list of general requirements applicable to the main body of the text:

  • Titles of sources placed within the paper, notes, and bibliography should follow headline-style capitalization.
  • Titles placed within the paper, notes, and bibliography can be italicized or taken in quotation marks based on the type of work they refer to:
    • Titles of larger works, including books and periodicals – have to be italicized.
    • Titles of shorter works, including chapters and articles – should be put in quotation marks.
    • Titles of most poems – have to be put in double quotation marks.
    • Titles of longer poems – should be italicized.
    • Titles of plays – should be italicized.
    • In any other case – be sure to take a minimalist approach to capitalization. Do not overuse italics or quotation marks for no reason. Also, use lowercase when there is no need for uppercase.
  • When quoting something, be sure to create block quotes when necessary. For prose, it is recommended to block a quote when it is longer than five lines. Read more details about block quotes further on in this article.

Chicago Style Heading

The Chicago Manual of Style does not provide authors with any strict rules regarding the format of headings and subheadings in the document. However, it does suggest a few recommendations:

  • Place all subheadings on a new line.
  • Follow a headline-capitalization style.
  • Keep up consistency and parallel structure in all headings and subheadings.
  • Authors may use different font sizes to distinguish subheadings.
  • It is recommended not to end subheadings with periods.
  • There should be a maximum of three levels of hierarchy.
  • All levels should be consistent and clear.
  • To distinguish levels of hierarchy, authors may use different fonts, bold or italics, or different placements on the page (preferably either flush left or centered).

Unlike the Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian provides more recommendations for formatting different levels of headings and subheadings. Following this system is not mandatory, but recommended. In the table below, you can find a comprehensive list of formatting recommendations for each of the three heading levels:

Level of Hierarchy

Suggested Format

1

Headline-style capitalization, bold or italic, centered

2

Headline-style capitalization, regular, centered

3

Headline-style capitalization, bold or italic, flush left

Here are some examples of different level headings:

Postmodern Literature (Level 1)

The Key Directions and Techniques (Level 2)

Historiographic Metafiction (Level 3)

Chicago Style in-Text Citation

The way you will be formatting each Chicago style citation will depend on the system you are following. As was already mentioned, for the Notes-Bibliography System, you will need to put numbered footnotes. We will cover that later in our article.

As for the Author-Date System citations, they should follow these rules:

  • The last name of the author, date of publication, and the page number should all be put in parentheses.
  • No punctuation marks are allowed between the author’s last name and the publication date.
  • No abbreviations are allowed.
  • Separate the date of publication and the page number with a comma.
  • When there is no author, you should use a shortened title of the source in your in-text citation.
  • If citing the same pages of the source numerously, cite the source in full after the last reference.

Note: If you are using a Notes-Bibliography method, then a chicago in-text citation is put in parentheses only when it follows direct quotes. If you are paraphrasing information, you have to use footnotes instead.

An example of an in-text Chicago Manual of Style citation:
“That was how the General learned what the whole city already knew: not one but several assassination plots against him were brewing, and his last supporters were in the house to try to thwart them.” (García Márquez 1990, 18)

Block Quotes Chicago

Block quotations, also called extracts, are used for longer quotes – five or more lines (or over 100 words) for prose, and two or more lines for poetry. These quotes have to be formatted differently.

Here are the main rules for blocking Chicago style quotes:

  • Always begin block quotes on a new line.
  • Do not put such passages in quotation marks.
  • Indent block quotes with the word processor’s indentation tool.

Prose example of Chicago style block quote with the Author-Date System:
In his paradise in Lima he had spent a joyous night with a young girl who was covered with fine, straight down over every millimeter of her Bedouin skin. At dawn, while he was shaving, he looked at her lying naked in the bed, adrift in the peaceful sleep of a satisfied woman, and he could not resist the temptation of possessing her forever with a sacramental act. He covered her from head to foot with shaving lather, and with a pleasure like that of love he shaved her clean with his razor, sometimes using his right hand and sometimes his left as he shaved every part of her body, even the eyebrows that grew together, and left her doubly naked inside her magnificent newborn’s body. She asked, her soul in shreds, if he really loved her, and he answered with the same ritual phrase he had strewn without pity in so many hearts throughout his life: “More than anyone else in this world. (García Márquez 1990, 270)

Poetry example of Chicago style block quote with the Author-Date System:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. (Shakespeare 1623, 34)

Prose example of Chicago style block quote Notes-Bibliography System:
In his paradise in Lima he had spent a joyous night with a young girl who was covered with fine, straight down over every millimeter of her Bedouin skin. At dawn, while he was shaving, he looked at her lying naked in the bed, adrift in the peaceful sleep of a satisfied woman, and he could not resist the temptation of possessing her forever with a sacramental act. He covered her from head to foot with shaving lather, and with a pleasure like that of love he shaved her clean with his razor, sometimes using his right hand and sometimes his left as he shaved every part of her body, even the eyebrows that grew together, and left her doubly naked inside her magnificent newborn’s body. She asked, her soul in shreds, if he really loved her, and he answered with the same ritual phrase he had strewn without pity in so many hearts throughout his life: “More than anyone else in this world.¹
_________________
¹. Gabriel García Márquez, “The General in His Labyrinth”. Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.

Poetry example of Chicago style block quote Notes-Bibliography System:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. ²
_________________
² William Shakespeare, “First Folio”. Edward Blount and William and Isaac Jaggard, 1623.

Numbers and Acronyms

In Chicago Style Format, it’s better to use words instead of numerals for numbers lower than 100. As such, you would need to write “seventy-five,” not “75.” But if you refer to a specific measurement (e.g. “15 pounds”), you would still need to use a numeral.

As for acronyms, explain acronyms the first time you refer to them and specify what they stand for.

Example:
The HPI (House Price Index) shows…

From that point on, you should use the acronym alone. Numerals, nor acronyms, should not be written at the beginning of a sentence. You will need to either rewrite the sentence so that the numeral or acronym appears elsewhere, or write out the full phrase or number: Instead of “200 people answered the question” or “Two hundred people answered the question” use “We received 200 responses.

Chicago Style Bibliography: Footnotes and Endnotes

If you follow the Notes-Bibliography method, both Chicago and Turabian writing styles imply using footnotes or endnotes whenever you quote an external source directly or include paraphrased information. When using the Author-Date style, on the contrary, you need to include parentheses in text to cite your sources.

Chicago Style Footnotes

Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom of each page. Each Chicago style footnote is numbered and its number should correspond to the number placed after a quote, passage, or paraphrased piece of information. Chicago style footnotes can perform any of the following roles:

  • Provide shortened citations to quotes and paraphrased materials.
  • Give additional explanations or notes on some terms, phrases, etc.
  • Provide background information when necessary.
  • Give links to outside sources.
  • Mention copyright permissions, etc.

Here is a standard Chicago footnote format to follow:

  • Place footnotes at the bottom of the page.
  • Include a footnote on the same page where the information you are citing is given.
  • Number each note with the same number placed after a quote or piece you are citing.
  • When making the first note for a particular source, include all of the following information: full name of the author, source title, and publication details.
  • When you cite that same source again, the note only requires the surname of the author, a shortened form of the title (if the length of the title is more than 4 words), and page numbers.
  • If you cite the same source and page more than two times, use the word “Ibid.” which means “from the same place.” If they are from different pages, use the word “Ibid.”, but also follow it with a page number.

Chicago footnotes example:
Footnotes are used in the Chicago/Turabian style paper.¹ There are many reasons as to why footnotes are a handy tool: perhaps the main one is the quick and easy access to information.² To no surprise, students likewise prefer footnotes to long and confusing bibliography pages, as they carry more information; a footnote presents no cons.³
_________________
¹ Jan Hudson, “Chicago/Turabian: Why You Should Use It”. New York Times publication, 2003. Although they are used in the Chicago/Turabian style, they are often used in other citation styles.
² Hudson, “Why You Should Use” 12-33. Quick and easy access can be granted likewise by a bibliography page at the end of the essay, however, statistics show that very few students take the time to access it while many do read the footnotes at the end of the page.
³ Ibid. This is a harsh statement, perhaps, as footnotes do have a single can not addressed in this paper: they sometimes cause the reader to lose their train of thought.

Chicago Style Endnotes

Chicago endnotes are generally similar to footnotes and serve the same purposes. The only difference is that while footnotes are placed at the bottom of a page, endnotes are collected at the end of a chapter, document, or article.

Endnotes are also identified in the main body of the text with a small superscript number. Then, next to a relevant number at the end of the paper, an author can provide a further explanation.

Chicago Style Bibliography

Regardless of whether you follow the Author-Date or Notes-Bibliography method of documenting sources, your paper will have to have a dedicated page that gathers all your references. In the Author-Date style, this page should be titled as References. And if you follow the Notes-Bibliography method, you should name it as Bibliography. This is typically the last page of the document and it has to contain the full bibliographical information of all of the external sources you’ve used in the work—both those cited in the text and in the footnotes.

Here is a set of rules to follow when forming a Chicago style reference page:

  • This page has to include separate entries for each source you have used and may as well include any other relevant sources.
  • Each entry should begin on a new line.
  • At the top of the page, there should be a centered title – Bibliography (for Notes-Bibliography style) or References (for Author-Date style).
  • Entries have to be listed in alphabetical order.

Chicago Style Citations

Every Chicago style citation consists of four elements: the author’s information, the title of the source, pages where the used information can be found in the source, and the publication details—which include the publisher’s name, journal name, and year of publication.

Here are some general rules for forming citations according to the Chicago style:

  • Authors’ Names: List the last and first name of each author.
  • Titles: Titles of longer works, such as books and journals, are italicized. Titles of shorter works, such as articles, chapters, and poems, are placed in quotation marks.
  • Publication Information: The publisher is listed first, followed by the journal’s name.
  • Punctuation: In a Chicago style paper, all major elements are separated by periods.

Below you can find examples of Chicago style citations for different types of sources in the Notes-Bibliography system:

Book (one author)

  • The first footnote: Anastasia Rheinbay, Dancing in Flight: My Journey as an Artist. (New York: Penguin, 2014), 33-45.
  • The second footnote: Rheinbay, Dancing in Flight, 9.
  • In the bibliography: Rheinbay, Anastasia. Dancing in Flight: My Journey as an Artist. New York: Penguin, 2014.

Book (two or more authors)

  • The first footnote: Inna P. James and Ryan Grist, How to Exist: How Not To Exist, 1999–2003 (New York: McGraw Hill, 2002), 58.
  • The second footnote: James and Grist, Exist, 58.
  • In the bibliography: James, Inna P., and Ryan Grist. How to Exist: How Not To Exist, 1999–2003. New York: McGraw Hill, 2002.

Translated Book
First, specify the author and then the translator.

  • The first footnote: Kate Cassimer, The Philosophy of the Happiness, trans. Fritz C.A. Koelln and James P. Leston (New York: Beacon Press, 1955), 14.
  • The second footnote: Cassimer, Kate. The Philosophy of the Happiness. Translated by Fritz C.A. Koelln and James P.
  • In the bibliography: Cassimer, Kate. The Philosophy of the Happiness. Translated by Fritz C.A. Koelln and James P. Leston. New York: Beacon Press, 1955.

Book Chapter (Part of a book)

  • The first footnote: John D. Rockefeller, “How I Made My Millions.” in Easy To Be Rich: The First Man of Steel. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 73.
  • The second footnote: Rockefeller, “Made Millions,” 72-75.
  • In the bibliography: Rockefeller, John D. “How I Made My Millions.” In Easy To Be Rich: The First Man of Steel. 72-75. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

E-Book

  • The first footnote: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (New York: Penguin Classics, 2007), Kindle edition.
  • The second footnote: James, Turn of the Screw.
  • In the bibliography: James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. New York: Penguin Classics, 2007. Kindle edition.

Journal Article
When citing an article, list specific pages in the footnote(s), but list the whole range of the article in the Bibliography.

  • The first footnote: Aidan Novak, “Transgender Journey: woMan” Men’s Health 58 (2023): #238.
  • The second footnote: Novak, “Transgender Journey: woMan,” 52.
  • In the bibliography: Novak, Aidan. “Transgender Journey: woMan.” Men’s Health (2023): #238 52-60.

Website
Online sources (including scholarly articles) can be mentioned in the text or as a note and, in turn, omitted from the bibliography. For example: (“As of December 2017, the wall bordering Mexico and the United States will be built, as listed on the national United States Government website…”). If a more formal citation is required, it doesn’t have guidelines. Include an access date or, if available, a date that the site was last modified.

  • The first footnote: “FDA Guidelines.” Last modified May 18, 2011, {link}
  • The second footnote: “FDA Guidelines.”

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