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Chicago Manual of Style Basics

Updated on February 12, 2013
THe Chicago Manual of Style
THe Chicago Manual of Style | Source

By Joan Whetzel

Writing high school and college academic papers requires citing reference materials properly and creating a list of works cited. The process will make use of one of three writing style and citation methods (APA, MLA or Chicago Manual of Style), depending on the field of study and or the teacher. The style discussed here is the Chicago Manual of Style. This book can be purchased, borrowed from a friend or from the library, or accessed online. A number of university online writing labs have condensed instructions for use of any of these writing styles as well.

Chicago Manual of Style Format

The Chicago Manual of Style is preferred by the Humanities disciplines. Papers can be identified by a title page or by including the title on the first page of the text, depending on the teacher’s requirments. If using a title page, center the paper’s title about 1/3 of the way down the page, writer’s name and class information centered on the lines below the title.

The general paper format includes:

· 1 to 1.5 inch margins all around

· Times New Roman or other typeface that is easily readable.

· 12 point font size (but no less than 10 point).

· Double spaced text, with the exeption of block quotes, table titles, and captions which should all be single spaced.

· Blocked quotes indented by 0.5 inches.

· Page numbers in the header beginning on the frist page.

· Subheadings used on long papers.

· Tables and figures are placed after the paragraph describing the information they contain. Each table and firgure gets its own citation

· Chicago Manual of Style citations include footnotes or endnotes. Endnotes are listed at the end of the paper but before the bibliography page. Foot notes are listed at the bottom of the page in which the citation is made. Bibiligraphies, sometimes called Lists of Works Cited, are alphabetizzed and placed at the end of the paper.

Chicago Manual of Style Citations

Citations must correspond to their bibliography entries. The Chicago Manual of Style uses footnotes or endnotes to cite materials. Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page and endnotes appear after the paper and before the bibliography. Each footnote or endnote is given a notation number that identifies it with the numbered citation in the text. The numbering is automatically assigned by most word processing programs like Word for Windows and placed in the correct numerical order.

The basic citation format is as follows: a) a source’s initial ciation lists the author’s full name (last name first), the full title of the resources, and page numbers; b) second sitation of the same source: author’s last name, abbrieviate title and page numbers; c) consecutive citations from the same resources: Ibid. and page number.

a) First Citation:

1 Trotter, David. The Screenwrite's Bible. 125-29.

b) Second Citation later in the paper:

5 Trotter. Screenwriter's Bible. 203.

c) Consecutive Citations:

1 Trotter, David. The Screenwriter's Bible. 125-29.

2 Ibid. 45.

3 Ibid. 110.

Chicago Manual of Style Bibliography

Title the resources page as “Bibliography” centered at the top of the page. Skip a couple lines before adding the entries which are broken down by type of entry. Each group of entries is alphabetized. The basic bibliography or List of Works Cited format for Chicago Manual of Style is as follows.

Internet Article and Website

Radcliffe, Jennifer.. "Lessons for parents for the new school year." Houston Chronicle.

<> (21 August 2011).

“Google Privacy Policy,” last modified March 11, 2009,


TenBrook, Catherine. <> "Architectural Drawings." Personal E-mail.

29 Aug., 2011.


Scorseese, M. (Producer), & Lonegran, K. (Writer/Director). (2000). You can count on me (Motion Picture) [DVD]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Recorded Music

Shocked, M. (1992).Over the Waterfall, on Arkansas Traveler. [CD]. New York: PolyGram Music.

For written publications (newspapers, books, magazines) the basic format is as follows.

Author. Title. Publisher’s full name. Publication date (use acces date or n.d. (no date) if the publication date is not available). URL (for online mateirals). Page number or, if unavailable, section (sec.), equation (ea.), volume (vol.) or note (n.)

· For one author, list last name first, comma, then first name, comma and any titles and a period.

· For 2 to 3 authors, write all names the same as with one author.

· For 4 to 10 authors, write all authors’ names in the bibliography, but only the first author’s name and the term “et al” in the the footnotes and endnotes.

· For sources with no author’s name, write the listing by the title in both the footnotes or endnotes and on the bibliography page.

Follow the style guide requested by the teacher as well as any specific instructions. This is only meant to be a basic guide, so be sure to refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for more specific instructions. The Purdue Online Writing Lab has more information at:


Essay Town: Citation of Research Paper

Duke University Libraries: Citing Sources

Long Island University: Citation Style for Research Papers

Master Papers: Help with Research Paper Citations

Purdue University: Purdue Online Writing Lab

Capitol Community College: A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on MLA Documentation


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