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Academic writing involves using five referencing styles including APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and Vancouver.  However, the format used depends on the instruction given to the user.  Just like any writing format, Chicago format has its unique nature when being used as an academic writing style. 

Chicago format involves two citation systems, author-date system, and notes-bibliography system. Notably, the notes-bibliography system involves the use of footnotes and a given bibliography.

From a traditional perspective, those in science use the Author-date system. On the other hand, those in the social science and humanities like history utilize the Notes-bibliography system.

Chicago manual style format

The Chicago manual format involves a number of guidelines

  • An inch margins: sides, bottom and top
  • Use of the Times New Romans, font size 12 unless redirected by the teachers or lectures
  • Double spacing on the text paper but can be changed as per the paper instruction
  • Use of left- justified texts
  • Numbering of the papers at the top right corner of the paper
  • Use 0.5” indent at each paragraph beginning
  • The title should be at the center of your paper, halfway down
  • Center tour name directly under the title of the paper
  • Lecture’s name
  • Course Title
  • Date


I. Lecture’s name, Course Title, and Date should be written 3 lines and bottomed at the page of the paper

II. You should not put page number on the cover page

  • Cover page
  • Body of the paper
  • Appendix Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Use full names of people and agencies/legislation the first time you use them like Federal Emergency Relief Administration
  • After the first time you can refer to people by their last name or agencies FERA
  • Footnotes are written at the bottom of the page where the reference occurs
  • Endnotes are written on separate page after the body of the paper.
  • Within the essay text: put the note number at the end of the sentence where the reference occurs, even if the cited material is mentioned at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Note number is indicated after all other punctuation.
  • You must use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) not Roman numbers like i, ii, iii
  • You put the word Notes at the top of the page with your endnotes.
  • You should single space each entry but double space between entries.
  • Indent the first line of each note.
  • Never reuse a number – use a new number for each reference
  • Be sure to look at shortened form examples for sources you refer to more than once.
  • If you want to cite multiple sources in a single note, separate the two citations with a semicolon.
  • Bibliography should be written on a separate page. The word “Bibliography” should be written at the top of the page in Times/Times New Roman 12 pt font.
  • Make sure to use proper formatting – note and bibliography styles are different.
  • Use a “hanging indent” – the first line of the citation begins at the margin; subsequent lines are indented.
  • If your source has no author, alphabetize by title within the authors
  • You should not separate primary and secondary sources unless directed in the paper instructions.
In the Chicago format, when you are referring to a given source of information within your paper, it simply involves citing the name of the author(s) and the publication date.

For example

Citing an article your text as

There numerous benefits of fruits and vegetables in the human nutrition (Slavin, Joanne, and Beate Lloyd, 2012)

Slavin, Joanne L., and Beate Lloyd. “Health benefits of fruits and vegetables.” Advances in nutrition 3.4 (2012): 506-516.

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The Chicago Format can be as below shown template

Abstract (Must be in bold and on its own page)

In the abstract section, briefly state your “argument” – your honest opinion, in a respectful and convincing way. Write a single paragraph that concisely and accurately summarizes the content of your paper. Generally, abstract is about 150 to 200 words. (Do not indent the first line of the abstract

Introduction (Must be written in bold)Introduction (Must be written in bold)

This is where the main body of paper starts. You should begin with an introduction.  Take not that your last name as well as the page number is in a header, at the upper right corner.

You should double-space your work You should use standard font (New York, Times) and use 12 point size but unless redirected in the paper instructions. Your word processor will insert these footnotes and format them for you: tool ribbon -> references -> “insert footnote.”1

Make sure to use symbol “ibid.”2 in the footnotes when you are referring to the same source as the previous citation, and add the page number if different.

When using pictures identify them underneath the image, use single-spacing, number your images.

Review of Literature (Must be in bold)

Evaluate the scholars whose opinions you are using to support your own or to argue against your opinion. You should use three and above scholars:

Each source should be discussed in a separate paragraph.


2. Ibid, page number.

Conclusion (Must be in bold)

This is your final conclusion in one or more paragraphs.  It comprises of what you honestly think about your topic, what have you learned and experience? In other words, it involves summary of the main points you covered in your paper. 

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Bibliography (Must be in bold) (On a new page)


McGhee, Robert. The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

A second work by the same author: use em dash: insert -> symbol -> more symbols -> the 3rd dash is em dash.

——. Beluga hunters: an archaeological reconstruction of the history and culture of the Mackenzie Delta Kittegaryumiut. [St. John’s]: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1974.


Williams, Philip F. and Yenna Wu. The Great Wall of Confinement: The Chinese Prison Camp Through Contemporary Fiction and Reportage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.


Darwin, Charles. Charles Darwin’s Letters: A Selection, 1825-1859. Edited by RFrederick Burkhardt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

“works cited” is a list of the works you actually made reference to in your footnotes in the body or any images.

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Works Cited (this is bold) (start on a new page)

Notably, referencing can be done using different sources. Below are examples on how to do Chicago referencing format from different sources.

Salih, M. Mohamed Salih, ed.  African Parliament: Between Governments and Governance.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Bingying, Xie. A Woman Soldier’s Own Story. Translated by Barry Brissman and Lily Chia Brissman. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

Kinder, Hermann and Werner Hilgemann.  The Penguin Atlas of World History.  Vol. 1, From Prehistory to the Eve of the French Revolution.  Rev. ed.  New York: Penguin Books, 2004.

Hamilton, Bernard. “The Impact of the Crusades of Western Geographical Knowledge.” In Eastward Bound: Travel and Travellers, 1050-1550, edited by Rosamund Allen. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.

Thomas, Evan. “The Day That Changed America.” Newsweek Special Double Issue, December 2001-January 2002, 45-46.

Harris, Hamil. R. and Darryl Fears. “Thousands Pay Respects to King.” Washington Post, February 5, 2006, sec. A, Maryland edition.

Cooper, Ilene. Review of Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion in American History, by Judith Edwards. Booklist 96 (2000): 1093.

Holst, Gustav. The Planets. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Andre Previn. Telarc compact disc 80133.

The Civil War. Produced and directed by Ken Burns. 11 hours. PBS Video, 1990. 9 videocassettes.


Well-known reference works, such as encyclopedias, are generally included in footnotes/endnotes but not in the bibliography. Check with your instructor to see if he/she would like you to include them in your bibliography, in which case you would follow one of the examples for a book.

Knox, E. L. Skip. “The Crusades.” http://crusades.boisestate.edu.

The Ohio State Department of History. “The Scopes Trial.”


Mather, Cotton. Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions. Boston: 1689. At Douglas Linder. Famous Trials.


Friedman, Shamma. “A Good Story Deserves Retelling–The Unfolding of the Akiva Legend.” Jewish Studies: An Internet Journal 3 (2004):55-93. www.biu.ac.il/JS/JSIJ/3-2004/Friedman.pdf.

Toplin, Robert Brent. “The Filmmaker as Historian.” American Historical Review 93 (1988): 1210-27. JSTOR.www.jstor.org.

Linzer, Dafna.  “Strong Leads and Dead Ends in Nuclear Case Against Iran.”  WashingtonPost.com.

February 8, 2006.  www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/07/AR206020702126.html (accessed February 9, 2006).

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