Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual's footnote referencing system - called notes and bibliography style - is widely used in the arts and humanities. Chicago also has an author-date style, where the citation occurs in parentheses in the body of the text. However, it is most common to use the Chicago notes and bibliography system.

Chicago Manual of Style guides

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Referencing in Chicago Manual of Style

Let's go through the steps of how to use a style guide to reference in Chicago, using the Chicago Manual of Style footnoting system.

The bibliography entry

Start by doing the bibliography entry. If you get this right early on, it will save you a lot of time.

1. Identify what the source is, where it's from, and who it's by.

Is it a book? A journal article? An interview? Did you access it online? How many authors does it have? The source's characteristics influence how to reference it.

Say for instance you need to reference a journal article that you found online, such as the one below. The screenshot below shows the information that is on the cover page of the article. This information tells you that it is an article from the journal, and that it has one author.

A word of warning-even though it says "To cite this article", don't simply copy and paste that information and leave it as it is. The style of citation that the journal provides is usually different to the style that you have to use.

2. Find a matching example in your style guide.

The aim is to find the closest example possible in your chosen style guide. For the following examples, we're using the online guide. In the guide, you can find an example for an online journal article.

Keng, Shao-Hsun, Chun-Hung Lin, and Peter F. Orazem. "Expanding College Access in Taiwan, 1978-2014: Effects on Graduate Quality and Income Inequality." Journal of Human Capital 11, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 1-34.

Please note that Chicago bibliography entries use a hanging indent, like the image below. A hanging indent is where the second and subsequent lines of the entry are indented - you can select a hanging indent in the paragraph options of your document.

Note that the above example has three authors. We want to see how to reference an article by one author. We can also look at another example in the guide which has a single-authored (but not online) journal article.

Satterfield, Susan. "Livy and the Pax Deum." Classical Philology 111, no. 2 (April 2016): 165-76.

3. Write out the reference following the style guide examples.

Your aim at this point is to make the information that you have match the order and formatting of the information from the style guide. This includes the details such as punctuation. If you're ever unsure, remember that your markers care most of all about consistency and having enough information to be able to locate the source themselves. Check over your references to make sure they're following the same principles and formatting.

Author names

First, you need to identify the author's surname (also known as their last name, or family name). In this case it is Diependaal. Then, you need to work out the author's first name.

Diependaal, Irène.

Article and journal title

Then comes the article title and the journal name (in italics).

Diependaal, Irène. "Hanover: A German Dynasty and its Symbols." The Court Historian

Publication details

After that, you need the volume number (20) and, if available, the issue number (2), then the year (2015). You will also need the page range (219-223). Sometimes you may need to look elsewhere in the article or on the journal's website to find out these details.

Diependaal, Irène. "Hanover: A German Dynasty and its Symbols." The Court Historian 20, no. 2 (2015): 219-223.

Finally, if you found the article online, you need to give the date of access and, if available, the DOI. Look to see if the article has a DOI - a Digital Object Identifier. This is like a stable URL.

A finished reference

Following the above steps, this is what your bibliography entry will look like:

Diependaal, Irène. "Hanover: A German Dynasty and its Symbols." The Court Historian 20, no. 2 (2015): 219-223. Accessed March 23, 2017. doi:10.1179/1462971215Z.00000000023


When you use Chicago, you need to use footnotes in the body of your work to show where the information comes from. Footnotes are superscript numbers inserted in your text whenever you use a source. The information about the source of each numbered reference is given at the bottom of each page of your text.

Remember to check the guide carefully, since footnotes are written differently to bibliography entries. For example, the footnote for the sample source looks like:

1 Irène Diependaal, "Hanover: A German Dynasty and its Symbols," The Court Historian 20, no. 2 (2015): 220, accessed March 23, 2017, doi:10.1179/1462971215Z.00000000023

Notice that the order of the author's name has changed. Note too that the page number is different from the bibliography entry (which gave the article's first and last page). In a footnote, only the page/s referred to is needed. There are also differences with the punctuation, such as a commas after the title and page number.

A page of an essay using footnotes looks like the image below.

Include page numbers in your footnotes whenever you use quotes, specific data or a close paraphrase. If you are summarising the main idea of the whole article, you don't need a page number.

Check your guide

Always remember to have your chosen style guide open while you are referencing-even if you use referencing software. It's useful to look out for inconsistencies and to make sure that you have all the right information in the correct order and format. Check out the style guides listed above.


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