The Chicago Style of formatting and referencing papers can be complex, so this guide is designed to provide clear, step-by-step examples for students who are just starting out editing their own work in Chicago style.
- Use margins of 1 inch.
- Use a common typeface, such as Times New Roman 12 point.
- New paragraphs should have a 1/2-inch indentation.
- Double-space the text.
- Page numbers should be placed in the upper right or lower center of the page.
Formatting the Title or Cover Page
Chicago style does not really require a title page, but if the institution or your instructor requests you to add one, it should follow these guidelines:
- You can either create a separate page for the title or just add it on the first page of your paper. Again, this will largely depend on the instructions given by your instructor.
- The title is written 1/3 down the page.
- The title is written in headline capitalization.
- You should bold the title.
- All the text on the title page is aligned in the center and double-spaced.
- Font type and size should be the same as the rest of the paper.
- In case there is a subtitle, it should be written one line below the main title and in bold like the main title. The main title should end with a colon if there is a subtitle.
- 2/3 down the page, add other information as requested by the instructor. Usually, the information includes your name, class, instructor’s name, and date.
Headings are used to separating different topics in your paper. The Chicago Manual of style does not have any specific rules about the styles of headings. In general, though, it is a good idea to use similar consistent styles for each heading throughout your paper.
Higher-level headings should stand out from lower ones. For instance, “main headings” or “major headings” can be bolded, while “subheadings” or “minor headings” should be italicized.
Block quotations are used in the Chicago manual style in two cases. First, in any quotation with more than five lines of text, it is good to use a blockquote. Second, when you are quoting an entire paragraph or a poem.
The point of using a block quotation is to set off the text from your writing. It also allows you to present any clarifications or comments about the material that would be helpful for the reader.
Block quotations are set apart from the main text by indenting the entire quote 1/2 inch from the left margin.
Use of Numbers and Acronyms
In general, numbers less than 100 should be spelled out. For example, you should “fifty-eight” instead of “58”. Numbers above 100 can be written using digits. For example, “102” instead of “a hundred and two.”
Acronyms should be introduced the first time they are used and spelled out after that. For example, “the United States (US) presidential election of 2008” and then later on “unemployment rates in the US.”
There are two different methods of in-text citations.
- Author-date style
- Notes-Bibliography style
The author-date system is the preferred method for the Chicago manual of style. This citation system uses parentheses to indicate a source, along with the date (year).
For example: “(Gold, 2002).” In this example, Gold is the author, and 2002 is the date.
The second method is called the notes-bibliography system, and it uses a footnote or endnote for each source that you use. Footnote and endnote numbers should be placed at the end of sentences or paragraphs directly after a quotation. The only punctuation mark that footnote and endnote numbers are not placed on is the dash.
Footnotes appear at the end of the same page the reference is, while endnotes appear at the end of the document, on their own page just before the bibliography.
Reference List or Bibliography
The reference list or bibliography is the final step in formatting a Chicago-style paper.
Entries on this page are not double spaced. However, a blank line is left in between. In case an entry extends to the next line, 1/2 inch is applied to all the extra lines of the entry, except the first line.
These rules are meant to make the presentation of your research paper easier for you and the reader.
The Chicago-style manual is not difficult to follow. It simply ensures that all writers use a set standard format for their work. This makes it much easier for writers and researchers to locate information in all types of academic literature.
Frequently Asked Questions.
When do I use quotation marks?
Use quotation marks to indicate direct speech or the title of a short story, essay, chapter, poem, song, play, or other short work.
What does italicize mean?
Italicizing is writing text in an indented format. For example, this sentence is italicized. Italicize titles of longer works like books and journals. Italics should not be applied to articles, short stories, poems or songs.
Is Chicago style the same as MLA style?
No. MLA and Chicago styles are very different from each other. The Chicago manual of style is less widely used than MLA, but it has been around longer.
How do I cite an author in the text when the Chicago style is being used?
When a source by a single author is cited, the name comes first and is followed by a comma. The publication date follows next, and it should be separated from the rest of the information with a semicolon. For example, Gold (2002).
How do I cite multiple authors in Chicago?
List up to three authors in a Chicago-style footnote. If the authors are more than three, only list the first one, then “et al.”
List up to 10 authors in the bibliography. List the first seven authors, followed by “et al.” if there are more than ten.
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