The Turabian Citation Style

If it is the case you study at the School of Divinity, then you may find the School of Divinity Turabian Guide helpful.

The Basics of Turabian Formatting

It is advisable to always double-check your professors’, department’s and institution’s preferences and requirements. It is possible they will have specific formatting preferences for each paper. 

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Margin Formatting

Margins usually require one inch on each side – top, bottom and sides – but the standard rule is nothing less than one inch and nothing more than one-and-a-half inches. The sample paper provided by has margins of one inch.

Typeface and Font

12pt Times New Roman is the preferred size and type of font.The Turabian style requires a readable font, one that should be at least 10pt.

Line Spacing

Double-spacing should be used throughout your entire paper except in the captions for figures, the titles of tables, and in endnotes, footnotes, block quotes, reference lists, and bibliographies. 

Page Numbering

Pages should be numbered from the first page of a paper or essay’s text onwards, but not on the title or cover page. It is usual practice to place page numbers in the upper right-hand side of a header or in a centrally-located footer at the bottom of a page. The sample Turabian-style paper we provide has the numbers in the center bottom.

NB: Where a paper requires a table of contents (ToC), this should be placed on a page of its own and numbered i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc. (e.g. in Roman numerals). 

Title or Cover Page

Because the requirements for a title or cover page can vary, we offer a separate document with visual aids showing how to format a title page either as a standard cover page for an undergraduate-level paper or as a standard cover page for a thesis or dissertation.  

Tables of Content (ToC)

A table of contents is built around the primary headings and the subheadings in a paper. In longer papers, chapters may even have subdivisions.

NB: It is usual for a table of contents to have what is known as  “Dot-Leader” tabs, which are a line of periods between the title of the content and the page number (e.g., Header One ………………...1).

Formatting a Paper’s Main Body

The following will outline some basic rules concerning the creation of the body of a paper.

  • Style of Writing and Voice

It is recommended that papers in the Turabian style are written in active voice from the third person perspective e.g. “it,” “he,” or “she.” Unless your professor asks specifically for your paper to be written in the first or second person, e.g., “I”, “we” or “you” respectively, do not use these in your paper.   

  • Use of Headings and Use of Subheadings

It helps to divide a paper into sensible or logical sections akin to “mini” papers within a larger entity. We provide a special page dedicated to the formatting of headings, complete with visual aids. 

  • How to Include Research Material and Quotations

Including credible research material supports and helps validate any arguments in a paper. Do not forget that it is better to play safe than to be sorry where plagiarism is concerned. If a source is not your own, it should be cited! 

We provide a separate page on how to avoid plagiarism with information on how to incorporate quotations, block quotes, summaries, and paraphrasing, etc. into a paper. 

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Citation and Bibliography Formatting

This section looks at the styles that should be used to cite research material and sources in a paper.

Citation Rules for Notes and Bibliography Entries

This form of the Turabian style is often used in humanities subjects, e.g., philosophy, history, literature, religion, and so on. Please see our sample on how to create notes and bibliographies in this style.

  • Formatting of Citations

The preferred way to explain in-text citation is to use endnotes or footnotes. The preferred way to compile sources in a single list is a bibliography. can assist with the creation of endnotes, footnotes, and bibliographies.

  • Where to Search for Materials to Cite

The best places to look for material to cite are textbooks, journals, scholarly writings, and so on.  

The Author/Date Style of Citation

This form of the Turabian style is mostly used in the sciences e.g. in the natural, physical, and social sciences. See our sample paper demonstrating the author/date style.

More about Formatting Cited Materials

The preferred way to draw attention to cited material within a text is to place the citation in parenthesis. The preferred way to show all sources used in a paper is to compile them in a single reference list at the end of a paper. can assist with the creation of parenthesized in-text citations or a reference page/list.

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You may find these useful:

The Oxford Citation StyleThe MLA Citation StyleThe Chicago Citation StyleThe Vancouver Citation StyleThe CBE Citation Style

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