What is Chicago Style

What is Chicago Style
Table of Contents

Welcome to this comprehensive dictionary of definitions designed to demystify the concept of What is Chicago style. As students tasked with the responsibility of producing a high-quality thesis, it is crucial to understand the various citation styles and formatting guidelines. This dictionary aims to provide clear, concise definitions of terms and concepts related to the Chicago style, thus enhancing your understanding and application of this essential academic tool. The Chicago style is significant in its respective field as it is widely used in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. It is renowned for its comprehensive guidelines on citations, footnotes, and bibliographies, thus promoting academic integrity and precision in scholarly writing. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better equipped to produce a polished, professional thesis that adheres to the highest standards of academic writing.

The definition of Chicago Style Format: What is Chicago style

As students embark on the rigorous journey of academic writing, they encounter several styles of documentation and formatting. One such style that holds significant importance, especially in the fields of humanities, history, and arts, is the Chicago Style. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to understanding the Chicago style format, its nuances, and its application.

What is the Chicago Style?

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) or Chicago Style is a system of formatting and citation developed by the University of Chicago Press in the late 19th century. It is highly recognized and widely used in academic and professional writing, particularly in disciplines such as history, art history, classical studies, anthropology, and philosophy.

The Chicago style format, currently in its 17th edition, offers two distinct documentation systems: Notes-Bibliography System (NB) and Author-Date System.

The Notes-Bibliography System (NB)

The NB system is predominantly used in literature, history, and arts. It allows writers to cite sources using endnotes, footnotes, and a bibliography. This system provides a flexible format that accommodates a wide array of source types and is particularly suitable for writers who cite sources that aren’t typically included in bibliographies, such as personal communications or archival materials.

The Author-Date System

The Author-Date system is favored in the physical, natural, and social sciences. It requires the writer to cite sources briefly in parentheses in the text by the author’s last name and the year of publication, with a corresponding entry in the reference list. This system allows readers to locate the source of information without having to navigate away from the main text.

Why Use the Chicago Style?

The Chicago style offers comprehensive guidelines for grammar, usage, and documentation, making it a versatile choice for writers across disciplines. Its two documentation systems cater to a wide range of subjects, accommodating the specific needs of various academic fields. Additionally, the Chicago style ensures that cited works are appropriately credited, maintaining the integrity of academic scholarship.

How to Use Chicago Style in Academic Writing

The use of the Chicago style in academic writing revolves around four main areas: page layout, citation, language and grammar, and figures and tables.

  • Page layout: Chicago style dictates specific guidelines for margins, font, line spacing, and pagination.
  • Citation: Depending on your discipline, you will use either the Notes and Bibliography or the Author-Date system to cite your sources.
  • Language and grammar: Chicago style provides guidelines for effective, clear, and concise writing, including rules on punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviation.
  • Figures and tables: If your paper includes figures, tables, or other visual elements, Chicago style offers guidelines on how to present these effectively.



Example of a Book Citation in NB style

In-text citation:
…as argued by Smith.1
Footnote/Endnote citation:
1. John Smith, The Art of Citation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020), 45.

Example of a Journal Article Citation in Author-Date style:

  • In-text citation:
    …(Smith 2020, 45).
  • Reference list citation:
    Smith, John. 2020. “The Art of Citation.” Journal of Academic Writing 45


The Chicago style, also known as the Turabian style, is a writing format and citation style predominantly used in the fields of literature, history, and arts. It was developed in 1906 by the University of Chicago Press and offers two citation systems; the Notes-Bibliography System (NB), which is used in the humanities, and the Author-Date System, used in the social sciences. The Chicago style covers a wide range of topics, including punctuation, abbreviation, and the construction of tables, among others.

This article discussed in detail the specificities of the Chicago style. It explained how the NB system uses numbered footnotes or endnotes in the text and a bibliography at the end of the document, and how the Author-Date System uses in-text parenthetical author-date citations and a reference list. The article also touched on the importance of formatting in the Chicago style, emphasizing the use of 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and justified text. The title page, main text, and references should all be formatted according to the guidelines.

The article further elaborated on the intricacies of citing different types of sources, like books, articles, online sources, and more in the Chicago style. It pointed out the importance of accuracy and consistency in citation to avoid plagiarism and maintain the credibility of the work. Lastly, a brief comparison with other formatting styles was made to highlight the differences and advantages of the Chicago style.

In essence, the Chicago style is a comprehensive and flexible format that accommodates a wide range of source types and is favored for its detailed guidance on citation rules, making it a popular choice in academic and professional writing.

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