Formatting Papers in Chicago Style

Formatting Papers in Chicago Style

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The Chicago Style of writing is often required for history papers, although this style is also called Turabian Style when referring to research papers.

Tips for Formatting the Text

Grace Fleming

Paper margins: Students fall into a trap when trying to adjust margins to adhere to an instructor's requirements. Instructors normally ask for a margin of one inch. That's close to the pre-set margin in your word processor, which is probably 1.25 inches.

The best idea is simply not to mess with the pre-set margins in your word processor if you can help it! Once you go outside the default margins, you can get into a nightmare of inconsistency.

Basically, the default setting in most word processors is fine the way it is. Ask your instructor if you have any doubt about this.

Line Spacing and Indenting Paragraphs

Your paper should be double-spaced throughout.

You may have noticed that some articles and papers are written with no indentations at the beginning of new paragraphs. Indentation is actually a choice-the only rule is that you must be consistent. Indenting new paragraphs is better. Why? Because of the double-spacing requirement.

You will notice that it is impossible to tell when a new paragraph begins in a double-spaced paper if the first line of a new paragraph is not indented. Your choice, then, is to indent new paragraphs or to quadruple-space between paragraphs, for clarity. If you quadruple space, the instructor may suspect you're padding your paper.

More Tips for Your Text

  • Use Times New Roman font size 12 unless the instructor has a different preference.
  • Put your page numbers in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Don't put a page number on the title page.
  • Make sure subtitles are in a consistent format. There is no specific standard-just be sure to make them all the same, either flush left or centered. One option is to center subtitles and put them in bold font.
  • Start your bibliography on a separate page.
  • Your bibliography should contain the last page number.
  • You may use either footnotes or endnotes.

The Appendices

It is best to place tables and other supporting data sets or examples at the end of the paper. Number your examples as Appendix 1, Appendix 2, and so on.

Insert a footnote as you refer to the appendix item and direct the reader to the proper entry, as in a footnote that reads: See Appendix 1.

Chicago Style Footnote Format

Grace Fleming

It is common for instructors to require the notes-bibliography system (footnotes or endnotes) for your assignments that require the Chicago or Turabian style of writing.

There are a few important details to consider when creating notes.

  • Formatting in footnotes is different from the formatting in your bibliographic citations, even though they will refer to the same document or book. For example, the footnote contains commas to separate items like author and title, and the entire note ends with a period.
  • The bibliography entry separates items (like author and title) with a period. These differences are displayed in the image above. This image shows a citation for a book. You can see the formatting for an article citation on the next page.
  • Footnotes may contain citations for references like books or journal articles, or they may contain your own comments. These comments can be supplemental information to clarify points you're making in your text, or they could be interesting bits of information that might interrupt the flow of your paper.
  • Footnotes can also contain acknowledgments. It is common for the very first footnote of a paper to be a large entry containing a summary of work related to your thesis, along with acknowledgments and thanks to supporters and co-workers.
  • You should insert a footnote number at the end of any paragraph that contains source information. You may "bundle" several citations from a paragraph in a single footnote and place the number at the end of the paragraph.
  • Use a full citation the first time you refer to a specific source; afterword, you may use an abbreviated reference--such as the author's name or part of the title, along with a page number. You may use the ibid abbreviation if you use the same reference in consecutive quotes.
  • Note numbers should start with 1 and follow in numerical order throughout a paper unless your paper contains several chapters. Note numbers should begin again at 1 for each chapter.