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Chicago referencing style: Introduction

A guide to using the Chicago citation referencing style for footnotes and reference lists.


Every scholarly discipline has a preferred format or style for referencing sources.

The Chicago referencing style comes in two varieties:

  1. Notes and bibliography (often also referred to as Chicago footnote)
  2. Author-date (often also referred to as in-text or parenthetical text) 

The notes and bibliography system is often used in the humanities disciplines such as literature, history and the arts. This referencing style requires footnotes in text when citing, and a bibliography at the end of your document listing all the works that you have cited and any other works you have consulted. The bibliography should be arranged alphabetically by author.

The author-date system is often used in the sciences and social sciences. This referencing style requires the author and date in parenthesis when citing in the text, and a Reference List at the end of your document listing all the works that you have cited, arranged alphabetically by author.

Please check your unit outline, or with your unit coordinator or tutor to find out which style you need to use for your assignments.

This guide provides some common examples of each system.  Use the tabs on the top of this guide to navigate to the examples dedicated to the notes and bibliography system and author-date system.

For more examples and explanations, please refer to the online Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

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