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The Chicago Citation Style

Teachers everywhere expect to get correctly formatted and properly laid-out papers. The following are some guidelines you can use when beginning to set up a paper. It is much better to apply the right settings from the start. Otherwise, you may find yourself going back to reformat your work.     

General Layout of a Page

You should use:

  • Margins of one inch at the top, bottom, and both sides of each page.
  • Times New Roman 12 point font.
  • Double-spaced text throughout.
  • Left side justified text, with the right side left jagged. Avoid full justified text, e.g., in newspaper style.
  • Add a half an inch indentation at the beginnings of paragraphs, hanging indents (bibliography-style) and block-style quotes.
  • Page numbering in the right-hand upper corner of each page, starting with the first text page. It is wise to insert your surname in case your essay pages become loose or separated. Numbering should continue right through from the first main text page to the final page of your bibliography, but exclude pages after the main text ends from the overall page count. (Papers of five or more pages long may additionally contain a title or cover page, up to two standard-size pages worth of notes, and a page of bibliography entries, which means nine assignment pages in total.)
  • Confirm with your professor if double-sided printing is allowed. 

The Cover or Title Page

  • Your essay or paper’s title should be placed in the center at the halfway point going downwards in the page. 
  • Your name should be displayed in the center directly beneath the essay’s title.
  • Add the name of your tutor, the name of your course and block, and the date on three different lines at the end of the page and in the center.
  • The title page should be typed in a 12-point Times or a Times New Roman style font. Avoid decorating your title or cover page by using, for example, underlining, bold or other decorative fonts.
  • Cover pages should not be given numbers or counted in the total page numbers.

The Order in Which a Paper should be Assembled  

  • Title page
  • The paper’s body paragraphs
  • Appendices if appropriate
  • Page(s) with Notes
  • The Paper’s Bibliography

Name Usage and Page Numbering

When talking about people, agencies, and/or legislation, use the full names when these are first used. Use the acronym for any agencies in parenthesis after you have written the full name e.g. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  

After using people’s names in full upon your first reference to them, you may use their surnames thereafter and refer to any agencies or legislation by their relevant acronyms in the remainder of your paper.

It is recommended to write numbers under one hundred (100) in full.

Endnotes and Footnotes

Endnotes begin on a fresh page at the very end of an essay’s main text. Footnotes are placed at the end of the page where the corresponding reference is. The formatting style for both types of notes is the same.

The note number should be displayed at the very end of a sentence within an essay’s text where a related reference appears, even when the material that is cited is placed at the beginning of the sentence. 

Note numbers are always displayed after every other punctuation mark.  

Use Arabic-style numbers, for example, 1, 2, and 3 and not the Roman numbering system, for example, i., ii, iii. 

Place the word ‘Notes’ rather than ‘Endnotes’ at the top of your endnotes section in a 10 point font in the Times or Times New Roman style. 

Use single spacing for note entries and leave two spaces between entries.

The first line of a note should have an indentation.

Do not reuse numbers – add the next sequential number as you create entries, even if a particular reference has been previously used. 

Make sure you look for shortened forms of any references that are repeatedly used.

If you want to cite numerous sources in any given note, each should be separated with a semicolon. At a sentence end, do not use more than one note number. 

Building Your Bibliography

A bibliography section should be started on a new page. Center the word ‘Bibliography’ at the page’s top in a 12 point font in the Times or Times New Roman style. Avoid the temptation to use larger or bold-type fonts for this heading.

Make sure you use the correct type of formatting because the style used for a notes section differs from that used in a bibliography.

The first or initial line of a bibliography entry should use a "hanging" intent, which means the first line begins at the left margin with the next lines indented.  

Sources that have no authors should be listed alphabetically by the title of the work within the list of authors rather than on a new list.

Do not separate primary sources from secondary sources unless a tutor requests this.

Common Errors to Watch Out for:

  • Notes use the author first name/author surname format where bibliographies use the author surname/author first name style.
  • Note numbers should not be reused. Give each note a fresh number.
  • Pay careful attention to indentation. The first line is indented in the notes format, while a ‘hanging’ indent is used in bibliographies.
  • Bibliographies are created alphabetically according to author name or title where an author’s name is unknown or unavailable, while notes are given numbers and are compiled according to the sequential order in which sources are used in a text.
  • The words ‘Works Cited’ should not be placed above a bibliography – these words apply only to the MLA writing style!
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