Chicago style referencing is used by students, writers and researchers worldwide to acknowledge the use of other people’s words and ideas in their written work, thereby lending credibility to their statements and conclusions without committing plagiarism.
The Chicago Manual of Style (Sixteenth Edition) outlines two basic documentation systems:
The style offers academic writers the choice between these two formats; choosing which system you are going to apply to your work will depend on your discipline and the type of sources you are referencing. If you are unsure which system you should be using, make sure you consult your tutor before you begin.
The notes and bibliography system is primarily used in the humanities - including literature, history, and the arts - because it is a flexible style that accommodates unusual source types and opens up space for commentary on the sources cited. A superscript number at the end of the sentence signals to the reader that a source has been used, and summary details of the source can be found using the numbered footnote at the bottom of the page. Full details of the source information can be located in the bibliography, which is presented at the end of the essay in alphabetical order by author. Read more about creating footnotes here.
Chicago style referencing also has an author-date variant, which is commonly used by those in the physical, natural, and social sciences. Sources are briefly cited in the text and enclosed within parentheses. Each parenthetical reference includes the author’s last name and date of publication, and is keyed to a corresponding reference in a complete list of references, where full bibliographic information is provided.
Whether you are using the notes and bibliography system or the author-date style in your work, RefME’s referencing tool will generate your citations in seconds. Simply log in to your account, or create one for free, and select ‘Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition (full-note bibliography)’ or ‘Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition (author-date)’.
Our mission at RefME is to educate students in the benefits of utilising multiple sources in their written work and the importance of accurately referencing all source material. This guide has been written to support students, writers and researchers by offering clear, well-considered advice on the usage of Chicago style referencing.
We understand that it is easy to inadvertently plagiarise your work under the mounting pressure of expectation and deadlines. That’s why we’ve created this open-access generator to automate the referencing process, allowing you to save valuable time transcribing and organising your references. So, rather than starting from scratch when your essay, article, or research is due, save yourself the legwork with the world’s most accurate reference generator. It’s the quickest and easiest way to reference any source.
There are thousands of other referencing styles out there - the use of which one varies according to scholarly discipline, university requirements, your professor’s preference or the publication you are writing for. Sign up to RefME to select from over 7,500+ styles, including university variations of each.
So, if you are looking to reference your work using Harvard referencing, or your discipline prefers that you use APA referencing, we’ve got you covered. Check out the wide range of styles available on RefME's website, as well as the Chicago citation generator above you’ll find open-generators for styles such as MLA, OSCOLA and Vancouver. Search for your university-specific style by logging into your RefME account and setting your institution in ‘My Profile’. Once you know which style you are using, it is essential that you stick to their style guidelines when referencing your work.
Keep reading our comprehensive guide for practical advice and examples that will help you create your references with ease. If you need further information or examples, consult the official style manual (16th edition).
Whilst RefME’s Chicago style citation generator ensures ultimate accuracy whether you are writing a university assignment or preparing a research project, you are encouraged to review your references manually for consistency, accuracy and completeness according to this guide.
I. Notes-Bibliography System
Read more about formatting your footnotes on Monash University’s website.
II. Author-Date System
If you are using the author-date system in Chicago style referencing, you must indicate each source with a brief parenthetical reference:
Recent revisions to the format have allowed for a certain degree of flexibility. For instance, you may prefer to use a combination of footnotes and parenthetical author-date references (especially if you have an excess of notes) - you could use author-date references to indicate sources within the text, and numbered footnotes or endnotes to add comments.
Why not give the RefME app or Chicago style citation generator a try? Save yourself the bother of formatting your references and have the whole thing done in moments using our state-of-the-art automated technology. Simply search for the author or title of the book you want to reference and leave the rest to us.
Each reference in the body of your written work should be directly keyed to a bibliography or reference list entry. Compiling a full list of all the source material that has contributed to your research and writing process is the perfect opportunity to show your reader the effort you have gone to in researching your chosen topic, ensuring that you get the result you deserve. Remember that RefME’s Chicago citation generator will help you assemble your bibliography...
I. Notes-Bibliography System
Have you been wondering how to organise all of your fully-formatted references in a comprehensive list? Well look no further, because here’s the lowdown on how to structure your bibliography:
II. Author-Date System
If you are adopting the author-date variant of the style, read the above list for a guide on how to compile your reference list. There are just two differences from the notes-bibliography system:
Are you spending too much time on completing your bibliography? RefME’s Chicago citation generator is here to take a weight off your mind. Sign up to RefME to save and export your completed bibliography directly into Microsoft Word, Evernote, EndNote and more. Or upgrade your account to RefME Plus to cite as you write within your document with RefME for Word 2016 for Windows, Mac and iPad. Add stored references to your work and manage your bibliography all from within Microsoft Word.
Carefully follow these examples when compiling and formatting both your in-text references and bibliography in order to avoid losing marks for referencing incorrectly.
I. Notes-Bibliography System
Each example in this section includes a numbered footnote, a shortened form of the note, and a corresponding bibliography entry for you to follow when using Chicago style referencing.
Book with single author or editor:
Book with multiple authors:
Are you using Chicago style referencing to cite a book with two or more authors?Note that only the first-listed name is inverted in the bibliography entry.
Print journal article:
Online journal article:
When referencing electronic sources researched online, the Chicago style referencing manual recommends including an electronic resource identifier, where possible, to lead your reader directly to the source.
A URL is a uniform resource locator, which directs the reader straight to the online source. When using a URL, copy the address from your browser’s address bar when viewing the article. You must include the source’s full publication information as well. Or simply paste the URL into RefME’s Chicago citation generator to auto-generate your reference.
A DOI is a digital object identifier; a unique and permanent name assigned to a piece of intellectual property, such as a journal article, in any medium in which it is published. If it is available, Chicago style referencing guidlines prefer that you include the DOI rather than the ISBN.
II. Author-Date System:
Each example in this section includes an in-text reference and a corresponding reference list entry for you to follow when using Chicago style referencing.
Article with single author or editor, author mentioned in text:
Article with multiple authors, author not mentioned in text:
*For a work with four or more authors, include all the authors in the reference list entry. However, in the in-text reference you need only cite the last name of the first-listed author, followed by et al. (e.g. Barnes et al. 2008, 118-19)
For more examples, see chapters 14 and 15 of the official style manual (sixteenth edition), or find more information available here.
Chicago style referencing dates back to 1891 when the University of Chicago Press opened. The Press housed typesetters and compositors who were working on setting and deciphering complicated scientific material in fonts such as Hebrew and Ethiopic. A style sheet was devised with the aim of maintaining consistency throughout the typesetting process; from the typesetter, to the compositor, to the proofreader.
Over the years the ‘University Press stylebook and style sheet’ developed into a pamphlet used by the entire university community, before becoming a 200-page book in 1906: Manual of Style: Being a compilation of the typographical rules in force at the University of Chicago Press, to which are appended specimens of type in use - also known as the first edition of the Manual. Today’s thousand-page 16th edition provides authors, editors, publishers, copywriters and proofreaders across the globe with the authoritative text on the style.
The Chicago style is continually evolving, with each edition undergoing revisions that reflect technological developments. For instance, the publication of the 13th edition in 1982 addressed the use of personal computers and word processors for the first time. When the World Wide Web became a global phenomenon in the 1990s, the very nature of research and communication shifted dramatically. The style’s editorial staff tackled this development by releasing a comprehensive 15th edition (2003) that incorporated the role of computer technology in the publishing industry by providing guidance on referencing electronic sources.
The 16th - and latest - edition of the Chicago style referencing manual (2010) was the first edition to be published both in hardcover and online. The manual reflects the changes undergone by the publishing industry in response to the digital age, and the subsequent evolution in the way in which authors and publishers work. It addresses a diverse range of source types that define academic publishing today; from URLs and DOIs to ebooks, Instagram and foreign languages, and provides comprehensive examples that illustrate how to reference online and digital sources.
The 16th edition also revamped the referencing style in order to move towards a more uniform style that closes the gap between the Notes-Bibliography and Author-Date systems. By recommending a single approach to each stylistic matter, rather than a myriad of puzzling options and exceptions to the rule, the style offers efficient and logical solutions to the sometimes-complex referencing process. Still confused? Use our powerful Chicago citation generator to create your references with ease.
Plagiarism occurs when a writer does not properly credit their source material; stealing the ideas or words of another and passing them off as one’s own is literary theft. Failure to acknowledge the sources upon which you’ve built your work is a breach of academic integrity, and this can result in a failed module, expulsion from university or even legal action from the original author. The proper use of a referencing system protects writers from committing plagiarism and being accused of plagiarising their work.
Both courtesy and copyright laws require you to identify the following in your work:
As a general rule, you must highlight any borrowed source material that might appear to be your own if it is not referenced correctly. When in doubt, remember that it is much better to over-cite your work than under-cite.
The importance of attributing your research goes beyond avoiding plagiarism, and whilst it may seem like a tedious process, attributing and documenting your sources is an essential practice for all academic writers. Accurate Chicago style referencing will validate your work by demonstrating that you have thoroughly researched your chosen subject and found a variety of scholarly opinions and ideas to support, or challenge, your thesis. As an academic writer, your written work is a chance to engage in conversation with the scholars that you are referencing by placing your own ideas in the context of the larger intellectual conversation about your topic. In correctly using references, you also lead your reader directly to the sources you have consulted, thereby enabling them to form their own views on your opinions and appreciate your contribution to the topic.
Here at RefME we know that referencing can be an arduous and time-consuming process. Luckily for you, you can work more efficiently - and avoid being marked down for plagiarism - by using RefME’s Chicago style citation generator.
Are you battling to get your bibliography finished on time? Feeling the pressure of imminent deadlines? Remove all the pain of referencing with RefME’s intuitive and accurate referencing generator.
RefME is committed to educating academic writers across the globe in the art of accurate referencing. We believe it is essential that you equip yourself with the knowledge of why you need to use a referencing system, how best to insert references in the main body of your assignment, and how to accurately compile a bibliography. At first, referencing may seem like a waste of time when you would much rather be focusing on the actual content of your work, but after reading this extensive Chicago style referencing guide we hope that you will see referencing as a valuable, lifelong skill that is worth honing.
Our multi-platform tool is designed to fulfill all of your referencing needs - whether you’re working at home, in the library, or on-the-go… With features such as Photo Quotes, which translates printed text into digital text for you to save as a quote, and organisational functions such as Folders, RefME will transform the way that you carry out your research. Unlock RefME’s full potential by upgrading your account to RefME Plus.
Sign up for free now and use our Chicago style citation generator to add and edit references on the spot, import and export full projects or individual entries, make use of our add-ons and save your work in the cloud. Or step it up a notch with our browser extension RefME for Chrome - work smarter by referencing web pages, articles, books and videos directly from your browser whilst you research online.
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