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Chicago Style Guide - 17th Edition

Chicago Style Sample Research Paper

Formatting and Sample Paper

The formatting guidelines listed on this page, provide general best practices for formatting your work using the Chicago style. Detailed information about formatting your title page, using quotes and signal phrases, and creating a bibliography, can be found by navigating to various sub-pages of this "Formatting Your Paper" page.

Learning how to correctly format your research paper into Chicago style can seem overwhelming, especially if the style is new to you. One of the best ways to help visualize what your paper needs to look like is by checking out an example of a paper that has already been formatted correctly.

View this sample Chicago style research paper (notes and bibliography/humanities system) from Purdue OWL for examples on how to format:

  • A title page
  • Headers and page numbers
  • Notes
  • A bibliography

For a sample paper in the Chicago author/date style, visit the "Author/Date (Scientific) System" page in this guide.

Paragraphs and Spacing

Paragraphs

The first line of all new paragraphs should begin with an indent. You can use either the tab key or your word processor's indentation tool to make your indentations–just be sure to be consistent and use the same process throughout your paper.


Spacing

Your paper should be double spaced throughout its main body, with the following exceptions: 

  • Block quotations, table titles, and figure captions should be single-spaced
  • ​An extra line of space should be inserted both before and after a block quotation. 

Entries in the bibliography and footnotes/endnotes are single spaced within entries, but double-spaced between entries (unless your instructor prefers double-spacing throughout).​

Footnotes and Endnotes

Notes

  • Notes can be either footnotes (placed at the foot (bottom) of the same page as the referenced text) or endnotes (listed on a separate sheet at the end of the essay, before the bibliography).
  • Other than placement in your document, footnotes and endnotes are structured in exactly the same way.
  • Notes are numbered consecutively throughout the paper. Most word processing programs (such as MS Word) handle footnotes automatically.
  • Follow your instructors’ directions when deciding whether to use footnotes or endnotes.

To insert a footnote in a Microsoft Word document:

  • Place the cursor after the text you want to cite.
  • Click on the "References" tab.
  • In the "Footnotes" section, click on the "Insert Footnote" button.
  • A superscript number 1 will appear after the text you want to cite.
  • A superscript number 1 will also appear at the bottom of page.
  • At the bottom of the page next to the superscript number, enter the citation information for your resource (see the citation examples in this guide for how to create footnotes).
  • Repeat these steps to insert and consecutively number your footnotes.

Some instructors may ask you to use endnotes, instead of footnotes. For information on inserting endnotes, see the Microsoft Office Tutorial.