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How to format Chicago-style paper

The Chicago style of writing is often used for historical articles, but this style is called the Turabian style when it comes specifically to research papers. The Chicago Manual of Style was first written in 1891 by the University of Chicago Press to standardize the review and editing process for many papers that were given to proofreaders. Here’s everything you need to know about formatting in this style.

General formatting tips

Margin

Paper margins can be a problem. Too many students fall into the trap of trying to customize the margins of a paper. Instructors usually ask for a one-inch margin, but the preset margin in your word processor may be 1.25 inches. So what are you doing?

If you are following the Chicago style, you need to make sure your margins are the correct size. The Chicago style requires one-inch margins at the top, sides, and bottom of the paper. Reformatting can be difficult, but you can always ask your professor for help with this.

Line spacing and paragraph indentation

Regarding line spacing, your document should be double-spaced, except for quotes, captions, and headings.

Chicago style requires 1/2 inch indentation before all paragraphs, bibliographies, and citations. You may have to go into your document settings to change the automatic indentation size when you press the tab key, but most word processors use 1/2 inch indents by default.

Font size, page numbers, and footnotes

  • Always use Times New Roman font size of 12 points unless your instructor has explicitly asked for something else.
  • Place page numbers on the right side of the page title.
  • Do not put the page number on the title / cover page .
  • Your bibliography should include the last page number.
  • Use either footnotes or endnotes if necessary (more on footnotes in the next section).

Page Order

Your report should be arranged in this order:

  1. Title/cover page
  2. Body pages
  3. Appendices (if any)
  4. Footnotes (if any)
  5. Bibliography
  6. Titles

Place the titles centered approximately in the middle of the title page.

When you use subtitles, place them on the line below the title and use a colon after the title to enter it. Center your name on the line below the title, then enter the instructor’s full name, course title, and date. Each of these elements should be on a separate line.

Headings may not be bolded, italicized, enlarged, underlined, placed in quotation marks, or written in any font other than Times New Roman 12 point.

Appendices

Tables and other supporting data sets or examples are best placed at the end of your article. Number your examples Appendix 1, Appendix 2, and so on. Insert a footnote as you refer to each appendix item and direct the reader to the correct entry. Professors usually require a system of bibliographic notes (footnotes or endnotes) in an essay or report, and this should be written in Chicago or Turabian style. As you create these notes, keep these important general formatting considerations in mind.

Formatting footnotes is different from formatting your bibliographic references, even if they refer to the same documents or books. For example, a footnote contains commas to separate elements such as the author and title, and the entire note ends with a period.

Print the footnotes one space apart with full spacing between the individual notes.

In a bibliography, elements (e.g., author and title) are separated by a dot.

Here is an annotated bibliography example chicago style:

Book

Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans; A Narrative of 1757. London: John Miller, 1826.

Serial / journal article (printed edition)

Lundblad, Michael.  “Epistemology of the Jungle: Progressive-Era Sexuality and the Nature of the Beast.” American Literature 81, no. 4 (December 2009): 747-773.

Use a full citation when first citing a particular source; after that, you can use an abbreviated reference, such as the author’s name or part of the title, along with the page number. You may use the abbreviation ibid if you use the same reference in consecutive quotation marks or use the reference you just cited.

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Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.
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