The Chicago Manual of Style known simply as the CMOS or simply as Chicago is one of the most distinctive referencing styles used in academia and research. The referencing style has been updated several times, and it is currently in its 17th edition. The Chicago style has two documentation styles; the Author-Date style and the Notes and Bibliography Style. The Notes and Bibliography style is the form a lot of the works that use the referencing style commonly use, and thus, it is the style that this article will be focusing on. In this article, a few tips on how to use the Chicago style effectively will be shared.

What to Know About the Notes and Bibliography Documentation Style

To write an academic work correctly in the notes and Bibliography style of the CMOS, it is important to note that there are two kinds of referencing. First is the Internal referencing, i.e., the citation of primary and secondary sources within the body of the work or what is popularly known as the in-text citation. Second is the external referencing, or the list of primary and secondary sources that the work consulted, which comes at the end of the work. In Chicago referencing system, the list of sources style is referred to as the “Bibliography.”

Internal Referencing or Intext Citation in the Chicago System

When using the CMOS system for internal referencing, you must include an endnote and footnotes anytime you are quoting a source.  All sources must be quoted, whether you are using a direct quote or you are paraphrasing. Footnotes are added at the end of each page of the document you are writing, while the references usually come at the end of the chapter of the work titled “Bibliography”. Usually, a superscript number corresponding to a note of the source that the citation is taken from should be placed in the text.

Another interesting thing about the Chicago style is how you can choose between using a bibliography like other referencing styles or how you can just choose to include your sources in your endnotes. If you choose to use bibliography in your work, then there is no need to quote your full source in your footnotes or endnotes. However, if you choose not to use a bibliography, then your endnotes must contain your citation in this order “Author’s full name, source title and facts of publication.

The current edition of the CMOS gives you the allowance to use shortened citations if you cite a given source more than once. If your work has a bibliography, the first reference should use a shortened citation, which includes the author’s name, source title and the page number. In a further citation, the researcher can simply include the author’s name and page number. The Chicago style also allows the researcher to use the word “ibid” if they are quoting from the same page more than once. If it is the same source but different page numbers, “ibid” can still be used, but the second citation’s page number must be indicated.

External Referencing in the CMOS

Unlike other referencing styles where the author’s initials is used, the Chicago style uses the author’s surname and full name. Also, all the major elements are separated by a full stop.  Thus the Bibliography entry in a 17th edition NB Chicago referencing style will have this format.

 “Surname, first name. Book title (placed in quotation marks if it’s a journal article or italicized if it is a book title). Publisher, Year of publication.”

From the sample format, we can see that unlike some other referencing styles, the year of publication of a source is not placed behind the author’s name, instead, it is placed after the book publisher.

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