Chicago/Turabian Documentation Style
The Chicago or Turabian style, sometimes called documentary note or humanities style, places bibliographic citations at the bottom of a page or at the end of a paper. You can find specific formatting, footnoting, and bibliographic information through the menu to the right, or download this information as a PDF.
Although the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (2010), which is available online, and the 8th edition of Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, edited by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, and the University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff (University of Chicago Press, 2013) also offer guidelines for parenthetical documentation and reference lists, the Chicago and Turabian styles are most commonly thought of as note systems, which are frequently used in history and the arts.
Check with the instructor who assigned your paper to determine whether you need to use notes or whether you can cite sources parenthetically in the body of your paper with a reference list at the end. These pages explain the Chicago/Turabian NOTE system.
What to document
- direct quotations
- paraphrases and summaries
- information and ideas that are not common knowledge or are not available in a standard reference work
- any borrowed material that might appear to be your own if there were no citation.
If you would like more information on what needs to be documented, ask your course instructor and see our page on quoting, paraphrasing, and acknowledging sources.
For further information
If you have questions about how to cite sources other than those illustrated here, consult either The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), or Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Paper, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), both of which are available at the Writing Center and in many campus libraries.
If you are a UW–Madison student, faculty, or staff, you can access The Chicago Manual of Style online through the UW Libraries subscription.
This guide is based on The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) and provides only selected citation examples for commonly used sources, and of notes/bibliography style only. For more detailed information, directly consult a print copy or online version of the style manual available at the SFU Library and at the SFU Bookstore.
Chicago style is sometimes referred to as Turabian style, which is a modified version of Chicago style, and which is outlined in Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7thed. [print].
For the best printing results, use the printer-friendly PDF format of this guide.
Keep track of your document references/citations and format your reference lists easily with citation management software.
General notes on Chicago Style
Chicago style outlines two distinct citation styles (14.2):
- Notes/bibliography style, also known as "Humanities style." Sources are cited through footnotes (or endnotes) and a bibliography
- Author/date style, also known as "Scientific/Social Sciences style." Sources are cited through parenthetical author/date references in the text and a reference list
Please note that this guide covers only the Humanities style.
It is recommended practice, but not absolutely necessary, to cite your sources in both the notes and the bibliography. The practice of including both notes and a bibliography is still common practice amongst humanities scholars, so make sure to consult your instructor.
If you choose not to include a bibliography in your paper or choose to create only a partial list of references, you must provide full details of the sources you cited in your notes. (The first time you mention a work in the notes, you must provide full publication details. All subsequent notes of the same work can be written in short form.) If, on the other hand, your bibliography includes all sources cited in the notes, you need not provide full publication details in the notes since a reader can consult the bibliography (14.14).
Your paper must be double-spaced. It is conventional to single-space footnotes and bibliographies, leaving a blank line between entries.
Every page of the paper must be assigned a page number, including blank pages, appendices, and bibliography. Arabic numerals are centered or flush right at the top of the page.
You need to cite and document any sources that you have consulted, even if you presented the ideas from these sources in your own words (13.1 - 13.6). You need to cite:
- to identify other people's ideas and information used within your essay
- to inform the reader of your paper where they should look if they want to find the same sources
A citation must appear in two places in your essay (14.19):
- in the notes (footnotes or endnotes)
- in the bibliography (at the end of your paper)
To introduce other people's ideas in text, use the following examples:
Use Webster's Third New International Dictionary [print] and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary [print] for standard spelling references for all Chicago citations (7.1).
You are responsible for the accuracy of all information in your notes and bibliography (13.6).
References in text: footnotes and endnotes (14.14 - 14.60)
In Chicago notes/bibliography style, footnotes or endnotes are used to cite quotes, paraphrases, and other in-text references (14.14-14.60).
- Footnotes are numbered citations listed at the bottom of each page in the research paper
- Endnotes are numbered citations listed at the end of the research paper
To cite a source, a small superscript (raised) number is placed after each in-text reference. Throughout the paper, these in-text references are numbered in sequential order (14.20). For example:
Each numbered reference then corresponds to a numbered citation in the footnote or endnote that provides author, date, and publication information for each source (14.14). The numbers in the notes are full size, not raised, and followed by a period.
Citations in notes are single-spaced (unless otherwise instructed), but there is a double space between entries. The first line is indented.
References in text: shortened citations (14.108, 14.111, 14.275, 14.29-14.36)
The first in-text reference to a given source must be cited in full with the name of the author/s, title of the work, place of publication, name of the publisher, and page number/s of the cited reference (14.19-14.20). For example:
Subsequent notes for sources that have already been cited may be shortened to the author's last name, abbreviated title, and the appropriate page reference (14.25). For example:
Immediately following notes that refer to the same source may be shortened even further to "ibid." (short for 'ibidem' - the Latin word for "in the same place") and the appropriate page reference (14.34). For example:
Bibliography (14.19 - 14.23; 14.61 - 14.71)
The list of sources at the end of the paper or at the end of the chapter is called the bibliography. This list must include all references cited in the text of your paper (14.62 - 14.71).
In the bibliography, entries are listed in alphabetical order according to the authors' last names. If no author or editor is provided, the work's title may be used instead (14.65).
Entries are double-spaced, but single-spacing is used within each entry. The second and subsequent lines are indented.
When the bibliography includes multiple entries by the same author listed together, a 3-em dash may be used to replace the author's name after the first entry (14.67 - 14.70). For example:
For more information about how to format your bibliography, see sections 14.61 - 14.71.
Common abbreviations (10.1 - 10.69)
When books have editors, translators, or compilers, the following abbreviations are used (10.42, 14.72 - 14.84):
- one editor - ed. / two or more editors - eds.
- translators - trans.
- one compiler - comp. / two or more compilers - comps.
For editions of books other than the first, the edition number (or description) and the abbreviation "ed." are placed after the book's title in all notes and bibliographic citations (14.112 - 14.115). For example:
- second edition - 2nd ed.
- revised edition - rev. ed.