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A Complete Guide On How To Cite A Research Paper In The Chicago Format

In academic writing, there are three main writing styles that are commonly used. These include Chicago, MLA and APA style. Depending on the student's class, they may be required to write in any of these three styles. Typically, Chicago style is used for research papers that cover classes like the arts, literature or history. Since it uses footnotes and extensive bibliography details, it is ideal for tracking sources and showing where the student got their information from.

The Footnotes

As the student writes, they are able to reference their sources in the research paper through footnotes. These notes are listed at the bottom of the page that they are on and allows the reader to see the source without having to look in the bibliography. Footnotes are also useful because they allow the writer to have a space outside of the main text to comment on the quality of the source or potential problems with the citation. Footnotes should be used every time the student needs to use a source's information. Even if the information is just paraphrased, the student must list it in the footnotes because they are using someone else's ideas. By always using footnotes, students can prevent themselves from unintentionally plagiarizing ideas.

When the student chooses a footnote option, a small superscript number is created. Starting at the number one, the superscript number will continue counting upwards throughout the entire text. These numbers help the readers to easily find the footnote connected to the text, and it is a requirement of Chicago style.


While footnotes are listed at the bottom of each page, endnotes are typically included at the end of each chapter. If the research paper is not particularly long, it may be included at the end of the entire document. For both footnotes and endnotes, information like the author's full name, the title and the facts about the publication need to be included. Whenever the source is used a second time or more, the student will only need to use the last name of the author, a shorted version of titles longer than four words and the page number.

The Bibliography

At the end of the document, every source that was quoted must be included in the bibliography. These sources must be listed alphabetically by the author's last name. If the student used a source for research and did not quote it in the essay, they should still include it in the bibliography.