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Completing A Chicago Style Research Paper: Basic Formatting Guidelines


There are several different formatting styles for research papers that are commonly used in academics, including Chicago, MLA, and APA. Each is slightly different, and each is generally used in different fields. If you find yourself needing to write a paper in Chicago style, and you are wanting a complete Chicago format guide, you can find assistance at this website.

If you don’t need a full guide, here are some of the basic formatting guidelines to get you started:

  • Include a title page
  • Your title page should include the title of the paper, centered and in all caps. Below that you should include your name, the class title, and the date

  • Double space your paper
  • Include page numbers at the top right of each page
  • Use footnotes
  • One of the major differences of Chicago style to MLA or APA is that Chicago uses footnotes instead of in text citations. Any time you present an idea that you got from a source, reference a source or quote a source you need to cite that source. To do this with footnotes, you will include a superscript number at the end of the sentence. This number will correspond to a note at the end of the page that will include the reference citation. There are some benefits to using footnotes instead of in text citations: for one, your text will be easier to read through.

  • Format reference citations
  • The typical format for a reference citation is:

    Author first name last name, Title (Publisher, Year), page number.

    If you are having a hard time figuring out how a reference citation should be formatted, there are many free citation formatters online. When using these, be sure to include all the information you have about the source, and to select the correct format style, which in this case would be Chicago

  • Use fewer section headings
  • Another thing that is usually different between Chicago and MLA or APA is that Chicago uses fewer section headings than the other two styles. While some students don’t like its, because they think it makes it harder to organize their paper, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference. You can still organize your paper clearly, in different sections around different topics or themes, even if you don’t have a section heading above it. If it is helpful to you, write your paper with headings, then delete them.