Chicago Format for Academic Papers and Essays


When you are being asked to write an academic paper or an essay, your instructor or the instructions accompanying the assignment will specify which writing style to adhere to. Your instructor could require you to format your paper or essay according to the Chicago manual of style. Then, it is essential to note that this citation style has two distinct systems, namely: The Note-Bibliography system (NB) and the Author-date system.

To determine which of the two systems to use is highly dependent on the nature and subject of the source to be cited. NB system is usually used by students and scholars in the humanities field while the Author-Date system is for social, natural and physical sciences.

Other than the citation guidelines in the Chicago format, this format also specifies how to format a Chicago style paper.

Chicago Style for Journal Papeprs

pointing hand The General Formatting Guidelines of Chicago Papers

  • The font type to be used for a Chicago paper or essay should be any readable font, preferably Times New Roman.
  • The font size for all the text in a Chicago paper should be 12 points.
  • Each page of a Chicago paper should have an inch page margin on all sides.
  • Each paragraph should have half an inch indentation.
  • The text in a Chicago paper should be double spaced.
  • Each page must have a page number situated at the top right corner or bottom center.

pointing hand Guidelines for Writing Academic Papers and Essays In Chicago Format

check mark Structure

The content of your Chicago paper should be structure following this order.

  • Cover/title page
  • Body of the paper
  • Appendix (if needed)
  • Notes
  • Bibliography

Academic papers and essays in Chicago format should contain the following:

check mark Title page

The Chicago format does not require a title page; you can just include the title of the paper at the top of the first. However, if you are asked to include a title page, you should follow the guideline of the Turabian manual on the title page.

The title page should contain the following

  • The title as well as the subtitle (if necessary) of the paper
  • Author’s full name
  • Other information about the author like students’ number
  • The course name and number
  • Professor’s or instructor’s name
  • The date of submission.

Centre the title of your paper about a third of the way down the page. The title page should not contain a page number but should be among the page count.

check mark Footnotes or endnotes

The citation of sources used in the paper should appear in the footnotes or endnotes. The readers are usually referred to citations in the footnote by superscript numbers in the text. These numbers appear at the end of the relevant sentence or clause after any punctuation.

Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page. In contrast, the endnotes appear on a separate page after the main text before the bibliography.

  • Footnotes should be separated from the main text with a short line and should be presented in the same format as the main text.
  • The title of the endnote page should be “Notes.”
  • All notes should use the same font type and size as the main text.
  • Use only Arabic numerals and not roman numerals.
  • The notes should be written with single spacing, but there should be a space between each entry in the note.

check mark Bibliography

You can choose to include a bibliography or a reference list for the NB style at the end of your paper.

  • The bibliography should start on a new page title “Bibliography.” Written with Times New Roman and 12pts at the top of the page
  • The first line of the citation should begin on the margin while subsequent lines of the margin should be indented.
  • The entries of the bibliography should be ordered alphabetically.
  • The entries in the bibliography should be written with single spacing and add a blank line after each citation.

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