Chicago Style Essay Guidelines For Kids

Papers written for history and some other humanities classes often use formatting rules and a note system determined by The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). In addition, CMS papers may require a reference page, titled the “bibliography.” In the following sections, some of the details of Chicago formatting and citations are explained, but you must be aware that these examples provide only a brief gloss of common rules and examples. More complex situations may not be covered or further assistance might be helpful for a complete citation of the source. For the most accurate, effective citations, you should always consult a current copy of the official citation style handbook, via places such as the library or Writing Center. The following information was adapted and supported by examples from A Writer’s Reference (seventh edition) by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers.

Paper Format

Font: use something standard and easily readable, such as Times New Roman, size 12.

Margins/spacing: use one inch on all sides with lines double spaced.

Title page: state full paper title and your name (on separate lines) in the upper third of the page; give course title, instructor’s name, and the date (on separate lines) at the bottom

Headers: select the “different first page” option in the header. Leave the cover page header blank. On all subsequent pages, include either a shortened version of the title or your last name, depending on the instructor’s preference, then the page number (counting the cover page as 1), right aligned.

Essay: begin a new page with the title of the essay, centered, then the body of the discussion will be left aligned, with the first line of each new paragraph indented.

No empty or excess space should be left unless a new page is needed (such as with the Bibliography).

Sections: CMS doesn’t typically use section headings.

In-Text Citations: Signal Phrases and Superscripts

Within the text of an essay, CMS presents indicates a source has been used via a signal phrase and a superscripted number (like so1) that refers the reader to the corresponding number at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or the end of the essay (endnotes). The signal phrase needs to provide the author or some other context for who or what material is being used. The signal phrase should first use the author’s full name; references after that may use last name only if desired (but never first only). At the end of the sentence or passage, the note number should be presented:

Paraphrase: This claim is made.1

Quote: This “quote is presented.”2

Observe that the number is stated at the end of the sentence, whether that is after a period or after a quotation mark. In CMS, the note citing the source can be presented at the end of a passage or collection of sentences referring to material from the source; however, when this practice is used, a signal phrase is essential for each sentence of the passage to indicate that the entire section is attributed to the source and not just the sentence with the note (the final sentence).

Unclear attribution: Student retention is a key concern for many schools. Educators and staff seek out ways to engage you across curriculum and to provide them with resources for success. These sorts of programs are essential.3 [Is just the last sentence from the source or is the entire passage?]

Clear attribution: According to Smith, student retention is a key concern for many schools. Smith’s survey found that educators and staff seek out ways to engage you across curriculum and to provide them with resources for success. These sorts of programs are essential.3 [This clearly indicates that all three sentences are from this source.]

Rules for Notes by Use

The in-text superscript directly refers to a corresponding number either at the bottom of that precise page (a footnote) or a list at the end of the essay (endnote). The number referring to a source in a notes list will be stated in normal script, and the information presented in that listing varies depending on the number of times the source has been used in the paper at that particular time.

First Use

1. Peter Burchard, One Gallant Rush: Robert Gould Shaw and His Brave Black Regiment (New York: St. Martin’s, 1965), 85.

#. First Last, Full Title (City: Publisher, year), page(s).

The first time a source is used, author and publication information is provided as well as page. See the first use examples and rules for a wide range of sources below.

Subsequent Uses

1. Burchard, One Gallant Rush, 31.

#. Last, Short Title, page(s).

For references to the same work after the first use, only the author’s last name, a shortened version of the title, and the page(s) of the material are given.

Consecutive Uses

1. Burchard, One Gallant Rush, 31.

2. Ibid., 35.

When the same source is used consecutively (in a row), the abbreviation Ibid. is used for the second note, with the page(s) of the source material. This should only be done for footnotes if they are on the same page. A new page always “restarts” the list and the style for “subsequent uses” should be used.

When listing these notes at the end of the essay (endnotes), this is rather straightforward. Simply look at the previous number(s) in the list to check for a reference to the source and then act accordingly. However, for notes at the bottom of the page (footnotes), the “Subsequent” and “Consecutive” uses will change depending on whether the note is on the same or different page as the one above it. When footnotes are used, it is wise to list all notes using the “Subsequent Use” style until the essay has been fully revised and edited. As the content of the essay changes, the placement of the notes may change, making the necessary use style change. Once all changes to the content has been made, then check for consecutive notes and change repeats to “Ibid.”

Notes by Source Type

In CMS, footnotes and endnotes follow an abbreviated citation style. Full citation rules are explained in the Bibliography section below. For now, in the examples for this section, please note that they are in the format for the first use of a footnote/endnote. Review the subsequent and consecutive use formats above to change the first use example if this isn’t the first use of the source in the notes. Otherwise, the following formatting rules should be used:

Footnotes are placed at the bottom of each page where the material is used—use the footer section to include these.

Endnotes start on a new page with the word Notes centered at the top of the page.

Note numbers are not superscripted (unlike the in-text reference).

Single-space citations with an extra space between entries (note: some instructors may request double spacing throughout).

Notes must go in the order they are used in the essay.

Footnotes and endnotes should indent the first line.

Note: the examples below illustrate only the citation for that source. You should always realize that the sources you find may have other features or information that must be taken into account in your own citations. These are merely basic examples to illustrate what proper citation looks like or may entail. However, the punctuation and placement of information on the citations below is correct and should be emulated logically.

Print Book

#. Runoko Rashidi and John G. Jackson, Introduction to African Civilizations (New York: Avon House, 1937), 349.

#. Authors/editors, Book Title (City: Publisher, year), page.

First use: List authors/editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). In parentheses, give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent. End with page, if applicable. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

Online Book

#. John Dewey, Democracy and Education (1916; ILT Digital Classics, 1994), chap. 4, http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/dewey.html.

#. Authors/editors, Book Title (year; Publisher/host, year), section, URL.

First use: List authors/editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). In parentheses, give the original year of publication, the publishing company or hosting catalogue, and year of the online publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent. Provide chapter or section and URL. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

Edited Work with an Author

#. Dith Pran, Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors, ed. Kim DePaul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 59.

#. Authors, Book Title, ed. Editors (City: Publisher, year), page.

First use: List authors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Note editors’ names. In parentheses, give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent. End with page, if applicable. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

Edited Work without an Author

#. Jack Beatty, ed., Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America (New York: Broadway Books, 2001), 127.

#. Editors, ed(s)., Book Title, (City: Publisher, year), page.

First use: List editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement), followed by ed. for one or eds. for more. Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). In parentheses, give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent. End with page, if applicable. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

Selection/Chapter of a Book

#. Zora Neale Hurston, “From Dust Tracks on a Road,” in The Norton Book of American Autobiography, ed. Jay Parini (New York: Norton, 1999), 336.

#. Authors, “Selection Title,” in Book Title, ed. Editors (City: Publisher, year), page.

First use: List authors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). State the selection or chapter title in quotation marks. Then present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below) after the word “in.” Provide editors names, after ed. In parentheses, give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent. End with page, if applicable. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

Article in a Print or Online* Journal

#. Gerald Tulchinsky, “To the 'Fabled City': The Distinctiveness of the Canadian Jewish Experience.” Canadian Jewish News 35, no. 2 (2005): 2-4.

#. Gerald Tulchinsky, “To the 'Fabled City': The Distinctiveness of the Canadian Jewish Experience.” Canadian Jewish News 35, no. 2 (2005): 2-4, http://www... .

#. Authors, “Article Title.” Journal Title #, no. # (year): page range.

#. Authors, “Article Title.” Journal Title #, no. # (year): page range, URL.

First use: List authors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). State the article title in quotation marks, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Then present the journal title in italics. Provide volume and issue number for the journal, if applicable. In parentheses, give the date of publication. End with page range of the article, if applicable; add URL if accessed online. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

*Note: “Online” used in this way means freely accessible online journals, such as direct access from the journal’s website. This does not mean database journals.

Any Work from a Database*

#. Richard Cavendish, “Tito Elected President of the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia: January 13th, 1953,” History Today 53, no. 1 (2003): 57-8, Expanded Academic ASAP (DOI/Identifying #) or URL.

#. Citation details according to source type in print style, Database (DOI/Identifying #) or URL.

*Note: When documenting database sources follow the same format as printed sources (See examples above). Collect and present the information in the style shown above for the source, but instead of ending with date or page range, include database name with a DOI or other identifying number in parentheses after. The examples above show a journal article, but if the source in question is actually a book, then the citation would follow the book style with database and number at the end. If the work doesn’t have a DOI or other identifying number, then use the URL of the work instead of database name. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

Webpage/Article from a Website

#. George P. Landow, “Victorian and Victorianism,” Victorian Web, last modified August 2, 2009, http://victorianweb.org/vn/victor4.html.

#. Authors/editors, “Article/Webpage Title,” Website Name, last modified date, URL.

First Use: List authors/editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). State the webpage or article title in quotation marks, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Then present the website name. Provide last modified date; if multiple dates are listed, provide the most recent. End with URL. Revise for second and consecutive uses as needed.

Tips and Rules for Footnotes/Endnotes

State as many author names as the source indicates (for example middle or maiden).

Authors are presented with names only, omitting any titles or honors, even if the source includes them.

Present these names in the order the source includes them without rearranging them. They are also listed in traditional order (first then last).

In second use, authors are generally referred to by last name only, with no other initials or clarifying titles.

When a source has two or three authors, name all.

When a source has four or more authors, name the first author only followed by et al.: The observations made by Author et al. ….

If a source doesn’t have an author or editor, then simply start the note with the next piece of information in the example for that source type. For instance, for a book citation, the next piece is the book title. For an article or selection, it would be the article/selection title.

If a source doesn’t have paginated sections, leave out page and use paragraph number. If the source doesn’t have pre-numbered paragraphs, then leave out paragraph number and no further location detail is needed.

If a source doesn’t have a date, use n.d. to indicate this.

Bibliographic Entries by Source Type

As discussed above, footnotes and endnotes follow an abbreviated citation style. The full formal citation is presented in the bibliography.

The following formatting rules should be used for a bibliography:

The bibliography starts on a new page with the word Bibliography centered at the top of the page.

Single-space citations with an extra space between entries (note: some instructors may request double spacing throughout).

Bibliography entries must be arranged alphabetically by last name (or first word of the citation, if no author is listed). If there are two works by the same author, alphabetize by the next piece of data.

Hanging indent citations on the bibliography (meaning the first line is not indented but any subsequent lines of the citation are). This feature can be selected quickly using Ctrl/Command T for the highlighted material. Otherwise, use the Help feature of the word processor to find how to enable this option if the quick command doesn’t work.

Note: the examples below illustrate only the citation for that source. You should always realize that the sources you find may have other features or information that must be taken into account in your own citations. These are merely basic examples to illustrate what proper citation looks like or may entail. However, the punctuation and placement of information on the citations below is correct and should be emulated logically.

Print Book

Rashidi, Runoko, and John G. Jackson. Introduction to African Civilizations. New York: Avon House, 1937.

Authors/editors. Book Title. City: Publisher, year.

List authors/editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent.

Online Book

Dewey, John. Book Title. 1916. ILT Digital Classics, 1994. http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/dewey.html.

Authors/editors. Book Title. Year. Publisher/host, year. URL.

List authors/editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Give the original year of publication, the publishing company or hosting catalogue, and year of the online publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent. End with URL.

Edited Work with an Author

Pran, Dith. Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors. Edited by Kim DePaul. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.

Authors. Book Title. Edited by Editors. City: Publisher, year.

List authors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Note editors’ names after the phrase “Edited by.” Give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent.

Edited Work without an Author

Beatty, Jack, ed. Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America. New York: Broadway Books, 2001.

Editor(s), ed(s). Book Title. City: Publisher, year.

List editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement), followed by ed. for one or eds. for more. Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent.

Selection/Chapter of a Book

Hurston, Zora Neale. “From Dust Tracks on a Road.” In The Norton Book of American Autobiography, edited by Jay Parini, 333-43. New York: Norton, 1999.

Authors. “Selection Title.” In Book Title, edited by Editors, page range. City: Publisher, year.

List authors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement), followed by ed. for one or eds. for more. Present the book title in italics, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Give city of publication (no state needed); if multiple cities are listed, name only the first. Then publishing company and year of the book’s publication. If multiple years are given, provide the most recent.

Article in a Print or Online* Journal

Tulchinsky, Gerald. “To the 'Fabled City': The Distinctiveness of the Canadian Jewish Experience.” Canadian Jewish News 35, no. 2 (2005): 2-4.

Tulchinsky, Gerald. “To the 'Fabled City': The Distinctiveness of the Canadian Jewish Experience.” Canadian Jewish News 35, no. 2 (2005): 2-4. http://www... .

Authors. “Article Title.” Journal Title #, no. # (year): page range.

Authors. “Article Title.” Journal Title #, no. # (year): page range. URL.

List authors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). State the article title in quotation marks, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Then present the journal title in italics. Provide volume and issue number for the journal, if applicable. In parentheses, give the date of publication. End with page range of the article, if applicable; add URL if accessed online.

*Note: “Online” used in this way means freely accessible online journals, such as direct access from the journal’s website. This does not mean database journals.

Any Work from a Database*

Cavendish, Richard. “Tito Elected President of the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia: January 13th, 1953.” History Today 53, no. 1 (2003): 57. Expanded Academic ASAP (17 February 2006) or URL.

Citation details according to source type in print style. Database (DOI/Identifying #) or URL.

*Note: When documenting database sources follow the same format as printed sources (See examples above). Collect and present the information in the style shown above for the source, but instead of ending with date or page range, include database name with a DOI or other identifying number in parentheses after. The examples above show a journal article, but if the source in question is actually a book, then the citation would follow the book style with database and number at the end. If the work doesn’t have a DOI or other identifying number, then use the URL of the work instead of database name.

Webpage/Article from a Website

George P. Landow. “Victorian and Victorianism,” Victorian Web. Last modified August 2, 2009. http://victorianweb.org/vn/victor4.html.

Authors/editors. “Article/Webpage Title.” Website Name. Last modified date. URL.

List authors/editors (see Tips and Rules below for arrangement). State the webpage or article title in quotation marks, using CMS capitalization rules (see Tips and Rules below). Then present the website name. Provide last modified date; if multiple dates are listed, provide the most recent. End with URL.

Tips and Rules for Bibliographies

State as many author names as the source indicates (for example middle or maiden).

Authors are presented with names only, omitting any titles or honors, even if the source includes them.

Name all authors in the bibliography, even if et al. is used in the footnotes/endnotes. Do not rearrange the order of the names; present them as listed by the source.

CMS only inverts the name of the first author/editor stated in the beginning of the citation: Last, First. Any names after that are stated in traditional order (even names later in the citation, such as editors): First Last.

Two names: Last, First, and First Last. …

Three names: Last, First, First Last, and First Last. …

If a source doesn’t have an author or editor, then simply start the citation with the next piece of information in the example for that source type. For instance, for a book citation, the next piece is the book title. For an article or selection, it would be the article/selection title.

Capitalize titles by standard rules, even if the source doesn’t show the title in that way. These rules are threefold:

1) Always the first word of the title and subtitle

2) Always the last word of the title and subtitle

3) Every other word in between except articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), or prepositions

Use quotation marks for the titles of articles or other short works—also do so if referring to those works in the body of the essay.

Use italics for the following titles and names: books, journals, newspapers, magazines, websites, and databases—also do so if referring to those works in the body of the essay.

For Additional Guidance

Obviously there are many more variations, in both print and electronic resources. For full documentation guidelines, consult The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition) or Purdue University's Online Writing Lab.

[Material adapted and updated by Laura Hardin Marshall, Oct. 2015]

Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition

Summary:

This section contains information on The Chicago Manual of Style method of document formatting and citation. These resources follow the seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which was issued in 2017.

Contributors: Jessica Clements, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller, S. C. Gooch, Laurie Pinkert, Allen Brizee, Ryan Murphy, Vanessa Iacocca, Ryan Schnurr
Last Edited: 2018-01-31 02:26:18

Please note that while these resources reflect the most recent updates in the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style concerning documentation practices, you can review a full list of updates concerning usage, technology, professional practice, etc. at The Chicago Manual of Style Online.

To see a side-by-side comparison of the three most widely used citation styles, including a chart of all CMOS citation guidelines, see the Citation Style Chart.

Introduction

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) covers a variety of topics from manuscript preparation and publication to grammar, usage, and documentation and has been lovingly called the “editors’ bible.” The material in this resource focuses primarily on one of the two CMOS documentation styles: the Notes-Bibliography System (NB), which is used by those in literature, history, and the arts. The other documentation style, the Author-Date System, is nearly identical in content but slightly different in form and is preferred in the social sciences.

In addition to consulting The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) for more information, students may also find it useful to consult Kate L. Turabian's Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th ed.). This manual, which presents what is commonly known as the "Turabian" citation style, follows the two CMOS patterns of documentation but offers slight modifications suited to student texts.

Notes and Bibliography (NB) in Chicago style

The Chicago NB system is often used in the humanities and provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through footnote or endnote citation in their writing and through bibliography pages. It also offers writers an outlet for commenting on those cited sources. The NB system is most commonly used in the discipline of history.

The proper use of the NB system can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the intentional or accidental uncredited use of source material created by others. Most importantly, properly using the NB system builds credibility by demonstrating accountability to source material.

If you are asked to use the Chicago NB format, be sure to consult The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.). Students should also refer to A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th ed.). Both are available in most writing centers and reference libraries and in bookstores.

Introduction to Notes

In the NB system, you should include a note (endnote or footnote) each time you use a source, whether through a direct quote or through a paraphrase or summary. Footnotes will be added at the end of the page on which the source is referenced, and endnotes will be compiled at the end of each chapter or at the end of the entire document.

In either case, a superscript number corresponding to a note with the bibliographic information for that source should be placed in the text following the end of the sentence or clause in which the source is referenced.

If a work includes a bibliography, then it is not necessary to provide full publication details in notes. However, if a bibliography is not included with a work, the first note for each source should include all relevant information about the source: author’s full name, source title, and facts of publication. If you cite the same source again, or if a bibliography is included in the work, the note need only include the surname of the author, a shortened form of the title (if more than four words), and page number(s). However, in a work that does not include a bibliography, it is recommended that the full citation be repeated when it is first used in a new chapter.

In contrast to earlier editions of CMOS, if you cite the same source two or more times consecutively, CMOS recommends using shortened citations. In a work with a bibliography, the first reference should use a shortened citation which includes the author’s name, the source title, and the page number(s), and consecutive references to the same work may omit the source title and simply include the author and page number. Although discouraged by CMOS, if you cite the same source and page number(s) from a single source two or more times consecutively, it is also possible to utilize the word “Ibid.,” an abbreviated form of the Latin ibidem, which means “in the same place,” as the corresponding note. If you use the same source but a different page number, the corresponding note should use “Ibid.” followed by a comma and the new page number(s).

In the NB system, the footnote or endnote itself begins with the appropriate full-sized number, followed by a period and then a space. 

Introduction to Bibliographies

In the NB system, the bibliography provides an alphabetical list of all sources used in a given work. This page, most often titled Bibliography, is usually placed at the end of the work preceding the index. It should include all sources cited within the work and may sometimes include other relevant sources that were not cited but provide further reading.

Although bibliographic entries for various sources may be formatted differently, all included sources (books, articles, Web sites, etc.) are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name. If no author or editor is listed, the title or, as a last resort, a descriptive phrase may be used.

Though useful, a bibliography is not required in works that provide full bibliographic information in the notes. 

Common Elements

All entries in the bibliography will include the author (or editor, compiler, translator), title, and publication information.

Author’s Names

The author’s name is inverted in the bibliography, placing the last name first and separating the last name and first name with a comma; for example, John Smith becomes Smith, John. (If an author is not listed first, this applies to compilers, translators, etc.)

Titles

Titles of books and journals are italicized. Titles of articles, chapters, poems, etc. are placed in quotation marks.

Publication Information

The year of publication is listed after the publisher or journal name.

Punctuation

In a bibliography, all major elements are separated by periods.

For more information and specific examples, see the sections on Books and Periodicals.

Please note that this OWL resource provides basic information regarding the formatting of entries used in the bibliography. For more information about Selected Bibliographies, Annotated Bibliographies, and Bibliographic Essays, please consult Chapter 14.61 of The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

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