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The Chicago style is most commonly used for business writing, corporate communications, academic writing, and publishing.  For this reason, it is the most commonly assigned style in college courses.  The Turabian version, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, is designed for students so it has a focus on formatting footnotes and bibliographic notations.  Skip past the version for publishers and use this easy to follow manual.  It does require a subscription to use the electronic version.  If you are going to use it frequently, you may want to purchase a hard copy but you can also visit the OWL for free tutorials.

cover turabian chicago style manual for writers 9

This is the most current edition of the Turabian Manual.  Older versions are still viable, but the 8th and 9th have information about citing internet sites.  This is likely to be important information, but if you have an older version, you can make handwritten notes in it from the webpage and make it last a bit longer.

Turabian presents two different ways to create footnotes:  notes-bibliography, which uses footnotes, and author-date, which uses in-text citations.  Do not choose in-text citations without specific instructions from your instructor.  Anything inserted into the text disrupts the reading process.

This example from the OWL contains a full research paper using notes-bibliography, explaining each feature in detail.

Individual fields are called elements.  The Manual goes into detail about various options for the elements, but no matter what type of resource you are citing, these elements will remain the same and appear in the same order:  Name, “title,” publisher, location, date, page, accessed date, and URL.  Always remember that in today’s online world there is always an assumption that you got the source from the internet and you must include the accessed date and URL.

Always pay attention to the placement of periods and commas.  The footnote and the bibliographical notation are different, with footnotes containing primarily commas and the bibliographic notation containing primarily periods.

Footnote:  Author name (first name first), “Article name,” Title/journal name (this is the webpage but not the URL, i.e. Smithsonian not, Date of Publication, page number, accessed date, URL.

Johnson, Dwayne,  “First Transcontinental Motor Convoy, 1919,”  U.S. Army Transportation Museum,  2014.  accessed 25 October 2019,

Bibliographical notation: 

Author name (last name first).  “Article name.”  Title (this is the webpage but not the URL, i.e. Smithsonian not  Date of Publication.  page number.  Accessed date.  URL.  This paragraph is formatted as hanging.  Every bibliographical notation needs to be hung.

Johnson, Dwayne.  “First Transcontinental Motor Convoy, 1919.”  U.S. Army Transportation Museum.  2014.  Accessed 25 October 2019.


Chicago style uses a Bibliography format.  This means that even items consulted but not actually cited are included at the end.  That is important because it demonstrates your frame of reference.  Other styles use a Works Cited format, which means only works that are actually cited in the text are listed at the end. 

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