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Basic Rules Of Making Citations In A Chicago Style Research Paper

Depending on the subject matter of your research paper and what type of sources you need to make citations for, there are two basic systems for documentation that you can choose from. They are as follows:

  1. Notes and bibliography
  2. Author-date

The first style is commonly used in the humanities, history, literature and the arts. This style can accommodate sources that are esoteric ones and don’t fit into the author-date system. You can also include bibliographic information in the notes.

The second style has been used predominantly in the natural, social and physical sciences. The source is briefly cited within text and usually appears in parentheses, using author’s last name and date of the publication. Shorter citations can be amplified in the reference list, where the full bibliographic information would be provided. Despite the difference between using notes and using parentheses for referencing within the text, the two systems still share a similar style.

Chapter 14 of The Chicago Manual of Style has further information as well as many examples of doing these different types of citations.

More rules you may find helpful include the following:

  • Bibliography – this should be a page at the end of your paper, and appears on its own new page. The title belongs at the top of the page, centered in the middle. It is not bolded nor underlined, enlarged or place in quotes. It should include all the sources you have cited within the text of your research paper. You may also include other relevant sources that provide the reader with additional information but weren’t cited within the text.
  • Capitalization – the first and last words in titles and subtitles should be capitalized, as well as all other major words. The conjunctions and articles such as, “for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so, a, an, and the” are usually not capitalized.
  • Order – the sources in your bibliography should be listed in alphabetical order of the last names of the authors. If an author is not listed, you can use the title. In this case, ignore the “A, And, and The” at the beginning of the title when alphabetizing.
  • Indentations – the first line of the citation must not be indented. However, all additional lines must appear with a 1/2” indentation. Some writers use a hanging indent to do this.
  • Italics and quotation marks – The titles of journals, websites and books are required to be italicized. Titles of webpages, articles or chapters of books are to be placed in quotation marks.

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Writing Advice

Make sure you always follow the specific finalizing instructions from your teacher, because they will be marking your research paper and looking for those things.

Don’t rely completely on your word processor’s spell check, because it won’t catch everything. Print your research paper if you can, and give it a good old fashioned proofread.

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Research paper writing advice