Skip to Main Content

Chicago Style Guide: 17th Edition

Introduction to Chicago Style

What is Chicago Style?

When instructors ask you to write in "Chicago Style", they are referring to the editorial style that most subjects within Arts and Humanities have adopted to present written material in the field.

Editorial style is a set of rules or guidelines that a publisher observes to ensure clear and consistent presentation of written material. Editorial style  concerns uniform use of such elements as:

  • punctuation and abbreviations
  • construction of tables
  • selection of headings
  • citation of references (documentation)
  • presentation of statistics
  • as well as many other elements that are a part of every manuscript

The purpose of documentation is to:

  • Identify (cite) other people’s ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.
  • Indicate the authors or sources of these in a Bibliography at the end of your paper.
  • Identify the sources you researched to support your argument.
  • Provide all information necessary to enable your readers to find the sources you used.

The 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (2017) recognizes two basic styles of citation: Notes-Bibliography and Author-Date. Notes-Bibliography is the standard in the humanities; this guide is only for the Notes and Bibliography system.

Notes & Bibliography 

This guide is intended to cover only the Notes and Bibliography system of the Chicago Manual of Style.

Instead of including parenthetical in-text citations (as in APA or MLA style), the Notes & Bibliography system requires the use of numbered foot or end notes, in combination with an alphabetical bibliography at the end of your paper. Include a note every time you refer to a source in your paper. Only list each source once in the bibliography. 

For each type of source in this guide, both the general form and a specific example will be provided for:

  • Full Note - use the first time that you cite a source.
  • Subsequent Note - use after the first time you cite a source.
  • Bibliography - use when you are compiling the Bibliography that appears at the end of your paper.

Information on citing and several of the examples were drawn from The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.). 

When you are writing a research paper it is important to clearly point the reader to the place that the information originated from in order to avoid plagiarism. Remember, plagiarism is theft, whether it is intentional or not.

Whenever you use, read, or borrow from any works or ideas which are not your own--including information, facts, statistics, opinions, hypotheses, graphics, etc.--you need to identify and give credit to those outside sources.

Outside sources might include:

Books, websites, magazines and newspapers, material from electronic databases, radio or television, films, plays, podcasts, Youtube, music, interviews, speeches, letters and correspondence (including emails), government sources, etc.

Your documentation of these sources must be thorough. It needs to be correctly placed within the body of your paper as well as in the list of references at the end.

Please note that this information was adapted from: Stern, L. (2007). What every student should know about avoiding plagiarism. New York: Pearson.