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Chicago Style Manual - How to Apply Chicago Style Manual Citation

bibliography title page document

The Chicago Style Manual, commonly referred to as the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), provides documentation guidelines for journal publications and scholars of research papers. Originally used in 1890 by University of Chicago students, the manual is primarily applied within two disciplines: the humanities and history. Students enrolled in natural and physical sciences courses can also use the Chicago Style Manual. Although the manual provides specific recommendations for journal publication in reference to formatting and requirements for page layout, it doesn’t serve as a comprehensive resource for student writers of research papers.

In addition, the Chicago Style Manual provides complete citation guidelines for how to format and reference short and block quotations; footnotes and endnotes; reprinted publications; encyclopedias and dictionaries; journal, magazine, and newspaper articles; and online databases. As a comprehensive resource, the CMS offers useful referencing guidelines for how to cite legal cases, academic lectures, government documents, online media such as a blog or email, sacred texts, and unpublished dissertations and theses.

The CMS is a tool for writers who struggle with common style and language issues such as punctuation, grammar, spelling, abbreviations, and proofreading. It is an updated and useful resource for information on copyright, permissions, and manuscript preparation.

Citation Styles

The manual provides the following two styles of citation:

  • Author-date
  • Notes and bibliography
  • Students in the humanities and some social sciences majors use the author-date style. On the other hand, students majoring in natural and physical sciences use the notes and bibliography style. In the author-date style, citations within paragraphs, typically called “parenthetical citations,” refer the reader to full source information listed in the bibliography. In the notes and bibliography style, readers can view source information within the footnotes, endnotes, and/or at the end within the bibliography. To best understand how to apply the Chicago Style Manual citation guidelines, here are some quick keys to remember.

    Formatting the Document

    The Chicago Style Manual provides specific guidelines for page layout. The standard font size for the body text is 12 point in Times New Roman; the size for footnotes and endnotes is 10 point in the same font. To format the document, keep in mind the following steps:

  • Step 1: Format the document so that there are one-inch margins on all sides of the page.
  • Step 2: Number all pages of the document, excluding the title page, and place the numbers in the footer.
  • Step 3: Center and place the title of the document on the first page of text and place the title two inches below the top of the page.
  • Step 4: For the title page, type the abstract and position it a few lines under the title. The abstract is a one- to two-line synopsis. After this, type the name, department name, course title and number, and date (month-day-year) on subsequent lines.
  • Step 5: When including tables, assign a number and a title for each table and place this information above the table on the first available line. A period must follow the number before the title (i.e., Table 5. Margins and Pagination).
  • Step 6: Place source information directly under the table (i.e., Data from CMS book).
  • The last guideline has to do with formatting figures. Number all figures by following the same format for tables (i.e., Figure 5.1. Title Page), but place the information under the actual figure. When there are less than three figures, don’t number them.

    Developing the Bibliography

    The bibliography comes at the end of a document. It provides evidence of parenthetical citations. Each bibliography entry consists of information with regards to date and year of publication, author or editor names, and type of publication (i.e., book, journal, etc.). For the Chicago Style Manual, there are three types of bibliographies:

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Single-author Bibliography
  • Divided Bibliography
  • In an annotated bibliography, a brief explanation of the source follows each entry. An explanation can be in the form of a one- to two-line summary of how the source relates to the research within the document. There are two popular methods for formatting entries:

  • Method 1: Similar to the bibliography entries, single-space annotations.
  • Method 2: Indent annotations from the main bibliography entry.
  • In the single-author bibliography, publications are listed chronologically. Here are three standard methods:

  • Method 1: Assign a title and name the bibliography Published Works of Author (insert the name of the author).
  • Method 2: Locate the publication date and arrange all entries chronologically.
  • Method 3: When there are multiple publications with the same year, group all entries by the publication date.
  • In the divided bibliography, entries are group categorically. Here are three important methods to consider:

  • Method 1: Divide all works cited within the document into categories.
  • Method 2: Within the page heading, provide a reason for the divided bibliography.
  • Method 3: Within each category, alphabetize all entries.
  • The layout is typically designed to be logical for the reader instead of alphabetically ordered.

    Tips to Remember for Bibliography Layout

  • Center the title for the bibliography and place the title one inch below the top of the page.
  • Align the first line of all entries from the left margin and indent five spaces for the subsequent lines for each entry.
  • Double-space between each bibliography entry and single-space within the actual entry.
  • With the exception of other alternatives, alphabetize all bibliography citations.
  • Continue the page numbers in the footer of the document consecutively all the way to the bibliography page(s).
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