Chicago Style Citation Format


Over the years, writing has been an important method of passing information from one person to the next all over the world. The integrity of a write-up is more often than not measured by the existence of sources of information that should be cited accordingly. Among the various formatting styles, there is the Chicago style of referencing. This style traces its origin to 1906, and is a brainchild of The Chicago University Press; it boasts of seventeen editions which have been released over the years to address the emerging trends as far as the proper formatting and citation of work is concerned.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation

What is the formatting pattern using the Chicago style format? According to the Chicago Manual of Style Citation, there exist two ways of formatting using this style; namely, the author-date and the notes and bibliography styles.

Notes and Bibliography

The notes and bibliography format is commonly known as NB style among its major users. As the name suggests, this approach makes use of footnotes/endnotes as in-text citations which are fully referenced in the bibliography sections of the document.

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Chicago Style Footnotes and Endnotes

Whenever a source is used, a superscript number is placed at its end in reference to the footnote/endnote that appears within the document. For example, “The well-known problems range from medical errors, which by some accounts are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, to the soaring cost of health care.”1 Its corresponding Chicago style footnote will be 1. Herzlinger Regina “Why Innovation in Health Care Is So Hard”. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 14 June 2017, from

Is there any difference between an endnote and a footnote? A footnote appears at the end of each page whereas an endnote is added at the end of a chapter. It is important to note that these have to be used in order to fully meet the requirements of Chicago formatting style.

There are instances where one opts not to have a bibliography in a document. In such cases, the notes in text carry all essential information for the sources referred to. However, under normal circumstances, all relevant details will be found in the bibliography section.

When citing a source for the first time, the following details have to be present: the first and second names of the author, title, place of publication, name of the publishing entity, year of publishing and page(s) of interest.

a. The example below shows Chicago style endnotes/footnotes for a print book, Beers Burton, WORLD HISTORY, Patterns of Civilization (New Jersey, Prentice Hall), 29.

There are times when one is forced to create a shorter citation especially if the source has already been cited within the research paper; the last name, a shortened title and page number are preferably used.

b. Beers, History, 500-550.

Where the citation has already been referenced earlier on, and another consecutive citation is in the offering, then “ibid” comes in handy.

c. Ibid., 300.

Chicago Style Bibliography

A bibliography is basically a list or page that consists of sources which have been cited in a research paper or any other additional sources that are relevant to a document’s theme of discussion. The Chicago style bibliography entails elements whose presence gives the document the authenticity to avoid unfortunate issues like plagiarism. The name of the author, title, publication year and the publishing house are just some of the parameters bibliography ought to have.

  1. Name – according to this formatting style the name of the author is inverted so that their last name precedes the first name e.g. Burtons Beers is cited as Beers Burton.
  2. Title – Titles of journals and book sources should be written in italics whereas those of other sources like poems and articles are written with quotation marks.
  3. Publication data – bibliographies in this style include the publication city and the publisher’s name immediately followed by the specific year of a source’s publication.

In the event an online source is used for reference, details like the URL and dates when the source was accessed are to be indicated to create a trustworthy bibliography, which is free from plagiarism. A bibliography may not always be present especially in the event that the write-up consists of footnotes/endnotes that bear full details of the used sources of references. It is key to note that annotated bibliographies also exist as far as Chicago style is concerned. They give more details on the author, their main arguments, scope of work, research methods used, sources etc.

More information on Apa Citation Research Paper.

How to Cite Chicago Style – Examples

It goes without saying that proper Chicago style guide on citation is incomplete without Chicago style examples on how to best cite various sources in research papers.

  1. Book Citation
  • Print Book

In-text citations (footnotes/endnotes); the name of the author comes first followed by the title that is italicized. The author’s name is written consecutively (i.e. first name then last name). Title. (City of Publication, Publisher, Year) e.g. 1. Burtons Beers, WORLD HISTORY, patterns of civilization, (New Jersey, Prentice Hall), 1990.

Bibliographies: Last name, First name, Book title. Beers Burton, WORLD HISTORY, patterns of civilization, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1990.

  • EBooks

The formatting style is the same as that of the print book with an addition of the URL or DOI at end the citation.

  • Multiple writers

Footnotes/Endnotes-Mahmood Nahvi and Joseph Edminister, Theory and Problems of Electric Circuits (New York, McGraw Hill, 2003), 50.

Bibliography-Nahvi, Mahmood and Edminister Joseph, Theory and Problems of Electric Circuits New York, McGraw Hill, 2003, 50.

  • Book chapters and articles

Footnotes/endnotes -1. Burtons Beers, “The Ancient Middle East”, in WORLD HISTORY, patterns of civilization, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1990, 35-47.

Bibliography – Beers Burton, “The Ancient Middle East”, in WORLD HISTORY, patterns of civilization, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1990.

  1. Journals

Citation of journals also has to have the following elements so as to address the authenticity of the research paper at hand; author’s name, title and other details of the source e.g. number of               pages (introduced by No.), issue number, publishing year (in parenthesis) and month. Inversion of the author’s name also occurs in this case while the titles are written in quotation marks.

Example, Notes – 3. Chassim M.R”Is health care ready for Six Sigma quality?” The Millbank Quarterly, no.4 (1998), 794 (highlights the journal’s page volume)

Bibliography – M.R Chassim, ”Is health care ready for Six Sigma quality?” The millbank quarterly, no.4 (1998), 565-591 (highlights the specific article pages).

In the case of electronic journals, a URL or DOI is added at the end of the result explained in the above section.

  1. Magazines

The order of formatting includes the author’s name, title (article’s then magazine’s) and lastly the date. If an online magazine is used then a URL or DOI is added at the end.

  1. Newspapers

Newspaper citations are characterized by the name of the writer, title, specific name of the paper not forgetting the date when the publication was done. If an online newspaper was used then its URL or DOI should be included at the end of the citations as mentioned earlier.

Footnotes/endnotes – 5. Diana Lodderhose, “Movie piracy: threat to the future of films intensifies”, The Guardian, July. 14, 2014.

Bibliography – Lodderhose, Diana, “Movie piracy: threat to the future of films intensifies”, The Guardian, July. 14, 2014.

  1. Web pages

In the case of webpages, specifying the name of the author, title of page and website name is the order of formatting for footnotes/endnotes.

Example: 5. James Rowland, “The Disadvantages of Using Daycare Centers”, Livestrong.

The bibliography format sample consists of an inverted name, title of article and website and the URL or DOI used.

Example: Rowland, James, “The Disadvantages of Using Daycare Centers”, Livestrong, June, 13, 2017

  1. Dissertations

In the case of in-text citation of dissertations, one starts with the author’s name and the dissertation title then followed by the URL. The bibliography citation includes additional information, namely the degree, school, year and identification code.


Notes – 1. Tara Hostetler, “Bodies at War: Bacteriology and the Carrier Narratives of ‘Typhoid Mary’” (master’s thesis, Florida State University, 2007), 15-16.

Bibliography – Hostetler, Tara. “Bodies at War: Bacteriology and the Carrier Narratives of ‘Typhoid Mary.’” Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 2007.

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  1. Government Publications

In both cases of notes and bibliography the government department that is publishing the document comes first, followed by the title of publication.


Notes – 6. Department of Justice, Audit of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Annual Financial Statements Fiscal Year 2014,

Bibliography: Department of Justice. Audit of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Annual Financial Statements Fiscal Year 2014.

(Above examples were obtained from

Look at this concerning MLA Formal Letter Format.

Formatting Rules

Like other formatting styles, the Chicago style comes with its own dos and don’ts that give it a unique touch. Making the text double spaced, using size 12 of the Times New Roman font and one inch margin (all round) are among the essential components of this formatting style. The indention is limited to half an inch at the start of any paragraph. The numbering of the pages is done on the header of the first page using Arabic numerals.

Author-Date style

This type of Chicago formatting style makes use of author’s name and date as the name suggests. Its in-text citation delivers those two pieces of information to a reader as shown in the examples below.

  • (Beers 1991)
  • (Mahmood Nahvi and Joseph Edminister 2003)
  • (Alan et al 2010), in the event of more than two authors.


In conclusion, Chicago citation style gives a research paper a touch of thorough research. It also goes a long way to prove that a write-up is free from plagiarism and thus meets the demands of a well-written paper. With this formatting style, referencing different sources is possible.

The original source – How to Write a Research Paper.

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