Chicago Citation Style

Most works written in the fields of humanities and social sciences follow Chicago style when citing sources. The Chicago style offers two varieties for citing sources: (1) notes and bibliography and (2) author-date. Researchers and writers select the system depending on their work’s subject matter (if it was not specified by a professor or a publication). Here’s how to differentiate between the two systems:

Notes and Bibliography 

  • This system uses footnotes or endnotes, and superscripts for the in-text citation. The footnotes or endnotes provide more detailed information about the source.
  • Preferred by writers and researchers in humanities, such as in literature, history, and the arts


Author-date system

  • This system uses a Reference list at the end of the text, and parenthetical in-text citation. The Reference list contains the complete bibliographical information of the source while the in-text citation gives a preview.
  • This is preferred by researchers in the sciences and social sciences. These include history, anthropology, sociology, and occasionally, business.


Some researchers prefer the Notes and Bibliography system simply because the superscripts don’t disrupt the flow of the paper, unlike the parenthetical in-text citation of the Author-date system. Generally speaking, however, there are no other differences between these two systems.

Here is how to format the Chicago style cover page:

Here are the basic guidelines in citing sources when making a Chicago-style Bibliography or Reference list page:

  • The page has one-inch margins on all sides.
  • Bibliography denotes the sources’ page in a Chicago-style document. Bibliography should be typed at the center of the first line.
  • Every entry begins on the left, aligned with the margin. The additional lines are half an inch from the left margin.
  • Each entry should be in single-space and observe double-space between entries. This will depend on the instruction of your professor.


The main text follows the typical research paper format:

  • 1-inch margin on all sides. 
  • The first line of each paragraph should be indented by 0.5 inches.
  • Font style should be readable, preferably 12 pt. Times New Roman or Courier.
  • The text should be double-spaced, unless otherwise specified.
  • The right margin should be “ragged,” not justified.


Notes and Bibliography

The Notes for this system has a longer and a shorter format. The longer note is used on the first time a source is cited in the text. So, for all subsequent citations of the same source, the shortened notes should be used.

Book

Chicago style Notes and bibliography

Edited books

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Chapter or part of an edited book

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Translated book

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

E-book

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Journal article

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Journal article with four or more authors

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

News or magazine article

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Book review

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Interview

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Thesis or dissertation

Website content

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Social media content

In the text, any social media content can be introduced and cited with a parenthetical citation, instead of a superscript. For example:

In a simple tweet, POTUS Trump revealed his stance: “What was Nike thinking?” (@realDonaldTrump, September 7, 2018).

However, if a more formal citation is needed, social media content may be included in the Notes.

Chicago style Notes and Bibliography

Personal communication

E-mails, texts, and direct messages sent through social media, which are all classified as personal communication are usually only cited in the note, but not in the bibliography.

Neil Gaiman, Twitter direct message to author, June 20, 2019.


Author-date System

Book

Chicago style Author-Date system

Edited book

Chicago style Author-Date system

Chapter or part of an edited book

Chicago style Author-Date system

Translated book

Chicago style Author-Date system

E-book

Chicago style Author-Date system

Journal article

Chicago style Author-Date system

Journal article with four or more authors

Chicago style Author-Date system

News or magazine article

Chicago style Author-Date system

Book review

Chicago style Author-Date system

Interview

Chicago style Author-Date system

Thesis or dissertation

Chicago style Author-Date system

Website content

Chicago style Author-Date system

Social media content

Chicago style Author-Date system

Personal communication

As in the Notes and Bibliography system, personal communication is only cited in the in-text citation. It does not need to have an entry in the Reference list.

(Neil Gaiman, Twitter direct message to author, June 20, 2019)


Following the MLA and APA citation styles, the Chicago citation style is the third most common citation styles in the academe. Unlike the MLA, which is more suitable for the humanities, and the APA, which is more suitable for the sciences, the Chicago citation style is more versatile. This system allows researchers to cite almost any kind of sources available. CustomEssayMeister has more tips on writing research papers in Chicago style.