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General notes: Humanities style Chicago/Turabian (17th ed.) citation guide


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.

Two varieties of Chicago Style

Chicago style outlines two distinct citation styles (14.2):

Notes and bibliography style

Also known as "Humanities style." Sources are cited through footnotes (or endnotes) and a bibliography.

This guide covers the Notes and bibliography style.

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.

For more information and examples, see the Social sciences/sciences or author-date system.

Please note that this guide covers only the Humanities style. 

General notes on Chicago 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:

Richardson argues, refers to, explains, hypothesizes, compares, concludes;
As Littlewood and Sherwin demonstrated, proved, ... etc.

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:

Mooney found that "domestic violence has, since the 1970s, been increasingly recognized as a social problem." 1

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 (in-text citations): shortened citations (14.29-14.36, 14.108, 14.111, 14.275)

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:    

1. Jayne Mooney, Gender, Violence and the Social Order (London: Macmillan, 2000). 2.

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:

2. Mooney, Gender, 131-32.

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:

Darnton, Robert. "An Early Information Society: New and the Media in Eighteenth-Century Paris." American Historical Review 105, no. 1(2000): 1-35.

---. The Devil in the Holy Water or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.

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.

Additional sources

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style (database)
The complete guide online, with rules and examples. 

The Chicago Manual of Style online 
Tips, guidelines, and examples from the publishers, including quick guides, video tutorials, and Q&A.

Guide to Archival Research: Chicago Manual of Style (Dalhousie University)
Guide to citing archival materials.

Turabian (Footnote/Endnote) Guide (Georgetown University Library)
Includes notes/bibliography examples typically used for disciplines in the humanities.

Using Primary Sources: Chicago Manual of Style (Library of Congress)
Examples of citing different types of primary sources.

Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition (Purdue University Online Writing Lab)
Includes images of Chicago style sample papers in both notes/bibliography and author/date [see Turabian below] styles.

Essay Style Guide (University of Victoria Department of History) 
A guide to writing history essays including samples of notes and bibliographical entries.

Turabian Style

Turabian Quick Guide (Chicago University Press)
Also contains background information on Kate Turabian.

Turabian Parenthetical/Reference List style guide (Georgetown University Library)
Provides examples in the "author-date" style.

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