Chicago Style Basics

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Chicago/Turabian BASICS

Bibliography Style


Notes and bibliographic entries are based on The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential  Guide for Writers, Editors  and Publishers by The University of Chicago Press, 16th edition  (available in print and online). The paper format is based on  A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate Turabian, 7th edition.



  • Some professors require “Chicago Style” for students working on a paper, thesis, or dissertation. CMS is also used by publishers, editors, and authors of journal articles.
  • CMS is used in history, art history, and other liberal arts and social science courses, depending on the professor teaching the course.
  • There are three different styles of CMS:
    • bibliography style with endnotes,
    •  bibliography style with footnotes, and
    • reference style with in-text citations.

Be sure to ask your professor which one he or she prefers if you are asked to use CMS in one of your classes. This tip sheet covers only “bibliography style” with both end– and footnotes.




Chicago Style allows you to use other people’s ideas to support your own. You must make sure to document the source you are paraphrasing or quoting so that readers can distinguish between your ideas and the ideas of others.


In other words, CMS/Turabian protects you against plagiarism!




Abbreviations used in CMS

If you refer to any printed or online reference for CMS, you’ll need to understand the following abbreviations.

Letter Meaning
B: Stands for “Bibliography” and presents a model of what a bibliographic entry would look like in bibliography style—which this page covers.
N: Stands for “Note” and presents a model of what an endnote or footnote would look like in bibliography style—which this page covers.
R: Stands for “Reference” and presents a model of what a bibliographic entry in a reference list would like in reference style—which this page does NOT cover.
T: Stands for “Text Citation” and presents a model of what an in-text citation would look like in reference style—which this page does NOT cover.



The bibliography of the paper is where the student includes the full citation for each reference she has quoted or paraphrased, arranged alphabetically by authors’ last names. This makes your sources easier to see and track down if a reader wishes to consult them. The information contained in the bibliography is similar to that contained in full-citation notes, but it is arranged and punctuated differently.


Endnotes  Vs. Footnotes & Superscript Numerals

Rather than having parenthetical notes like APA or MLA, CMS bibliography style uses superscript numerals and either endnotes or footnotes. The consecutive numerals refer the reader to the corresponding numeral in the end– or footnotes, where the reader can find the citation information, which is then listed in the bibliography in alphabetical order by authors’ last names.

Here’s an example of a superscript numeral that refers to a note found in an article from The Art Bulletin:

Moreover, sixteenth-century Venetian artists deployed Byzantinizing elements and even sculpture in their altarpieces as a reassertion of  traditional iconic appearance and devotional ideals in the face of the radical transformation of the genre.26

Both endnotes (at the back of the paper, but before the bibliography) and footnotes (at the bottom of each page where quotations or paraphrases appear) are used to cite a source used within the text; however, they can serve a larger purpose than just citation. The notes (whether at the end or at the foot) can help the writer to build credibility and can include additional information that may not be relevant to the point the writer is trying to make in the paper, but that may help the reader to see how a writer’s ideas have developed in the course of researching. For a more thorough explanation, see our handout “Understanding Notes in Chicago Style.” Here’s an example of this kind of end– or footnote from an article in The Art Bulletin:

26. Nagel, review of Humfrey, The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice, 141. The issue of media in devotional art is explored at length in idem, Michelangelo, 188-215.

Notice that this note directs the reader to a further source on the same subject. Also notice that this is a shortened note. You should include full-note citations only the first time you refer to a source. After the first full citation, the end– or footnote contains only the corresponding numeral from the text, the author’s name, a short form of the title, and the page number. (NOTE: “in idem” is a short way of saying, “in the previously mentioned source.)

In making the decision between end– or footnotes, the first step is to ask your professor which he or she prefers. If he or she has no preference, your next step is to decide which will most appeal to the reader. If your notes are mostly for citation purposes, footnotes at the bottom of the page will make it easier for the reader to check your citation. If you have a lot of notes and a lot of commentary for credibility- building purposes, endnotes will be easier to format and will give a cleaner look to the paper. BEWARE: Professors recognize when students attempt to use footnotes to make their papers look longer. You will most likely be counted off for this. So if your footnotes take up more than a page, you may want to use endnotes.



For the bibliography, CMS uses a hanging indent. Create a hanging indent by first entering in all the bibliographic information for your sources. Highlight the text of the bibliography. Then, in MS Word 2010, go to the “Paragraph” tab on the ribbon, click on the small arrow to bring up the paragraph-dialog box. Under “Indentation” look for the “Special” pull down menu. Click on the arrow of the menu and choose “Hanging.” Or, more simply, you can use our template, found on our website’s Online Resources page.



A journal is a periodical written for a highly specialized audience. People who read journal articles are researchers, educators, or practitioners in a particular discipline. For example, medical doctors read the Journal of the American Medical Association. Technical communicators read journals like Technical Communication and the Journal of Business and Technical Writing. English professors read a journal titled College English. Check with your professors to see if they want you to use only peer-reviewed journals. That means that a group of experts in that field reviews the research conducted by the author before accepting an article for publication.

Journal articles are documented differently than other periodical publications like magazines. A magazine is written so that anyone can understand it. Example magazine titles include Parent Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, and Reader’s Digest. You can find magazines on newsstands in grocery stores, whereas you would find journals only in libraries or very large bookstores.

There are several clues to look for to establish that a periodical is a journal:

  •  If the title of the publication has the word “journal” in it, it’s probably a journal.
  • If the text of the article uses a lot of words that only a specialist would know, chances are it is from a journal.
  • Magazines are generally glossy and contain a lot of graphics for entertainment value, font changes, and advertising interspersed between the articles. Journals are usually plain paper, contain very few graphics (except for tables or illustrations that provide evidence), and limit advertising—which, if it exists, will usually be aimed at a very specialized audience.
  • Search the title of the publication in a search engine such as Google. Most magazines and journals have websites that will indicate the type of publication.


Online Vs. Print

Just using Google to find links to key words is probably not going to net you many sources that are considered credible, so it may be best to use search engines only in the preliminary stages of research to get a handle on terms and vocabulary related to your subject. However, there are many sources that are available “online” that are considered credible. Anything you can find in Torreyson library, whether it’s from an online database, the archives, the government documents collections, etc. can be considered credible.

So here’s a rule of thumb: if you found your source through the library, you can most likely consider it credible. If you’re not sure, check with your professor.



“Periodical” is a generic term that refers to publications that are published periodically (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or even yearly) such as newspapers, magazines, and journals. Each periodical type uses a different CMS model. So, for example, look up the model for newspaper articles when documenting a newspaper. Look up the model for a magazine article when documenting a magazine article, and so on. Remember, too, that the number of times per year a periodical is published will make a difference in how it appears in the end- or footnotes and the bibliography.


Lead-in Phrase

Whether you are quoting or paraphrasing you will use lead-in phrases to distinguish your quotations and paraphrases from your own ideas. A lead-in phrase is a group of words that indicates when you are quoting or summarizing someone else’s words and ideas. The lead-in phrase is an important element to include when integrating sources into your own writing because, when they are left out, it is not clear where a paraphrase has begun. For example, let’s say that you inserted a quotation into an essay, and then spent two paragraphs and part of a third explaining the quotation in terms of your main argumentand showing why it supports that point of view. Next, you insert a paraphrase. If you don’t include  a lead-in phrase, how will the reader know where the paraphrase  begins?

The first time you refer to a new source, your lead-in phrase will include the author’s full name and credentials. Once you’ve done this, your lead-in phrases for quotations and paraphrases only have to include the author’s last name. Often, a reference to “her” or “he also believes,” and so on, will suffice. Here’s an example of lead-in phrases woven throughout a passage of quoting and paraphrasing:

According to Robert O’Sullivan, medical doctor and expert in the history of medicine, Jean- Paul Marat, the man who would later become one of the three leaders of the Reign of Terror, was born to an immigrant father in Geneva in 1743.3 O’Sullivan also writes that because Marat’s father was originally from Sardinia, it was equally difficult for the two to find work, which left Jean-Paul feeling much like the “outsider” his father was considered.4 Finally, O’Sullivan states that “influenced by his father’s experiences, [Marat] left Geneva aged sixteen and traveled across Europe.”5

When paraphrasing, be sure to completely rework the original words into your own style–your own linguistic thumbprint, if you will–to avoid accusations of plagiarism.


The point is to clarify,  at every opportunity, when you are integrating someone else’s words and ideas into your own versus when you are using your own words and ideas.



When you insert words from another author word-for-word, surround them with quotation marks to show that the author’s words appear in your work exactly as he/she wrote them and introduce them with a lead-in phrase to distinguish your words and ideas even more clearly from the author’s.



Writers should not pack their essays with quotations. Doing so can raise questions about whether or not the writer was just lazy and did not want to do the hard work of integrating the research into her/his own project or perhaps that the writer did not really understand what the research meant and over-quoted to cover a lack of understanding.

Rather than quoting source material every time you want to use another’s ideas, reserve quotations for those authors and snippets of texts that articulate an idea in such a special or unique way that you want to preserve those words exactly as they are.

Otherwise, paraphrase. Paraphrasing refers to the process of putting an author’s words entirely into your own voice and style and integrating them into your work with a lead-in phrase and note (either end– or footnote).


Examples of Quoting  and Paraphrasing

Here are original words written by James M. Markham, the Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, on March 19, 1989 in The New York Times, section 5, page 15:

“When Charlotte Corday, staying at the Hotel de la Providence off the Place des Victoires, dispatched her first letter to Jean-Paul Marat at 30 Rue des Cordeliers on the other side of the Seine she was told that the missive would be delivered in less than an hour; after the letter failed to produce an interview with the revolutionary, it took her half an hour by horse-drawn cab to travel to Marat’s Left Bank lodgings, where she plunged a knife into his chest as he sat in his bath.”


Here is a quotation in CMS style from the original above:

James  M. Markham, the Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, explains,  “When Charlotte Corday, staying at the Hotel de la Providence off the Place des Victoires, dispatched her first letter to Jean-Paul Marat at 30 Rue des Cordeliers on the other side of the Seine she was told that the missive would be delivered in less than an hour; after the letter failed to produce an interview with the revolutionary, it took her half an hour by horse-drawn cab to travel to Marat’s Left Bank lodgings, where she plunged a knife into his chest as he sat in his bath.”1

Remember, the superscript numeral will refer the reader to the endnote or footnote where they can locate the page where the quotation appeared in the original text, along with other bibliographic information as required by CMS.

Here is a paraphrase  in CMS style from the original above:

James  M. Markham, Paris bureau chief of The New York Times describes how Charlotte Corday had gone to Paris and written an urgent letter to Marat from her hotel, expecting that he would reply within 24 hours. Markham  also  states  that when she received no word, she went to his apartment and stabbed him to death.1

Again, the superscript numeral will refer the reader to the footnote or endnote where they can locate the page on which the quote appeared in the original text.


For questions not covered here, refer to these helpful sources:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, by University of Chicago Press
  • The UCA Writing Center’s Online Resources
  • The essentials of CMS
  • Additionally, you can access the official online version of CMS by visiting us in Thompson 109.


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