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Chicago Style Guide: Overview

Scope: This guide is designed to help researchers learn how to cite sources using the Chicago Manual of Style. This system, also known as Turabian, is often used in history, the humanitites, and the arts. For more information, refer to The Chicago Manual of Style or Kate Turabian's Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers.

Did you know that there are two systems of citation in the Chicago style?

Go directly to our guides to the Notes System or the Author-Date (Parenthetical) System, or read on to learn about the differences.

Overview of the Chicago/Turabian Documentation System

The Chicago system (also known as the Turabian system) allows for two different systems of documentation. The notes system is suggested for use in the humanities, art, and history, and uses footnotes (notes at the bottom of the page) to document sources. The author-date system is suggested for use in the physical, natural, and social sciences and uses in-text parenthetical citations along with endnotes (notes at the end of the paper on a separate sheet) to document sources.

The University of Maryland offers detailed guides on both systems:

Notes System vs. Author-Date System

What distinguishes the author-date system from the notes system is that the author-date system inserts minimal source information directly into the text itself, surrounded by parentheses, and follows up with the rest of the source information in a list of references at the end of the paper. Imagine that you're writing a paper on the ideal politician and are quoting a particular author's ideas about desirable qualities in a politician. An excerpt from a sentence in the text of a paper written using the author-date would look like this:

While some assert that the essential qualities a politician must possess
are, "passion, a feeling of responsibility, and a sense of proportion"
(Weber 1946, 33), others think that ...

The entry in the list of references would look like this:

Weber, Max. 1946. Politics as a Vocation. In  Essays in Sociology, ed.
     H.H. Garth and C. W. Mills, 26-45. New York: Macmillian.

The notes system, on the other hand, uses footnotes appearing directly at the bottom of each page. The excerpt from the paper might look like this:

And the corresponding note might look like this:

     1. Max Weber, "Politics as a Vocation," in Essays in Sociology, ed.
Howard Garth and Cynthia Mills (New York: Macmillian, 1946), 26-45.

Notes may be presented in either "short form" or "long form." Read our guide to the Chicago notes system or consult The Chicago Manual of Style for more information.