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Citation Styles

Help with different citation styles including how to format citations.


Chicago author-date system combines in-text citations with a References list at the end of a paper. Typically, this system is used within the physical, natural, and social sciences disciplines. However, it can be adapted for any field. At times, footnotes or endnotes can be used to provide supplemental information. In this case, composing notes in author-date system follow similar rules to composing notes in notes-bibliography system.

In Chicago Manual of Style, regardless of system, "source citations must always provide sufficient information either to lead readers directly to the sources consulted or ... positively identify them, regardless of whether the sources are published or unpublished or in printed or electronic form." (CMOS,14.1)

You are required to cite sources within the text (or body) of the paper using the author-date citation system. This system consists of an in-text citation and a reference list entry. Every resource cited in the body of your paper must be listed alphabetically in the references list. Likewise, every resource in the reference list must be cited in the body of your paper.

  • The exceptions are personal communications you've had with others, general mention of whole websites or periodicals, or general mention of common software and applications. While they have in-text citations or mentions in the text, they are not included in the reference list.
  • Common knowledge is also not required to cite.

Format and Placement of In-Text Citations

Chicago author-date style requires specific kinds of information be included in in-text citations. The author's last name and the work's date of publication must always appear & are all that is necessary when citing an idea, an entire book, article or other work. Example: (Roberts 2009). These must match exactly the corresponding entry in the references list. The page number appears only if it is a direct quotation or if it's useful for location. 

Placement of the citation may vary within the body of your paper. There are some options of where to place the citation in text.

  • Narrative Citation:
    • The name of the author can be incorporated into the narrative of the paper. Example: In his study of how teenagers use social media, Roberts (2009) found ...
    • The name of the author and the date may also be stated in the narrative without parentheses. Examples: In 2009, Roberts examined how teenagers use social media to following ways ...
  • Parenthetical Citation
    • Both the name and date of the work cited appear at the end of a sentence enclosed in parentheses. Example: Researchers studying how teenagers use social media found that ... (Roberts 2009)

No matter if using a narrative citation or a parenthetical citation, a page number appears if it is a direct quotation or if it's useful for location.

  • Narrative Citation Example: In 2009, Roberts found that "teenagers use social media for..." (195)
  • Parenthetical Citation Example: (Smith 2009, 195)

Using In-Text Citations


Multiple Authors: Use the word 'and' when citing multiple authors in the narrative of the paper, as well as in parentheses.
  • 2 authors - Cite both names every time the reference occurs in the text. The same methods as above can be used.
    Example: (Roberts and Matthews 2009).
  • 3 or more authors: Use only the first author's name followed by 'et al.' and the date in first and all subsequent references. 
    Example: (Roberts et al. 2009) OR Roberts et al. (2009) found the following... 

Groups as Authors: When the author is a group (association, corporation, government entity etc.), their name is generally spelled out each time it appears in a text citation. If the group's name is long and/or there is a well known abbreviation, use it in subsequent in text citations.
Examples: First time: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving 2009); Subsequent uses: (MADD 2009).

No Author: Use the first few words of the reference (usually the title) and the date. Use double quotations marks around the title of an article, a chapter or web page and italicize the title of a journal, book or report.
Examples: ("Comparing learning styles" 2009) OR (Learning the Alphabet 2009).

No Date: If the date of publication is missing or unknown, use the abbreviation "n.d."

Indirect Sources: When you use a source cited in another source, name the original source in the narrative. The secondary source [the one you used] should be listed in your reference list and cited in parentheses. Example: Johnson's study of teenagers found ... (as cited in Roberts 2009).

Electronic Sources: Generally, electronic sources cited within the text should be treated the same as print sources. Include the author's name (or brief title if there is no author) and date in parentheses.


Short Quotations: If you directly quote from a source and the quotation is 40 or fewer words include it in the text and enclose it with double quotation marks. Examples: (Roberts 2009, 195) OR Roberts (2009) found that "teens' uses of social media included ..." (78).

Long Quotations: When you quote directly from the source and the quotation is more than 40 words display it in a free standing block without quotations. Quotation block should appear on a new line indented at least 5 spaces from the left margin and be double-spaced.

Online Sources: Credit online sources using the authors' name, date and page numbers in the same manner as print sources. If there are no page numbers but chapters are visibly numbered use them in place of page numbers. Use the abbreviation "chap." in place of the page number. Examples: (Roberts 2009, chap. 3)

Formatting the References List

The 17th edition of Chicago author-date style has a references list of all cited sources. Although formatting is similar to APA's reference list, there are some differences.

Title: On a new page after your paper, enter the word "References" and center it. Depending on your professor's preference, the title can also be "Works Cited." Do not bold, italicize, underline or use quotation marks. "Bibliography" is not used as a title at all. 

Order: Entries are organized alphabetically by the author's last name. If working with multiple sources by the same author or with works with no listed author, organize those sources alphabetically by title. 

Indentation: The first line of each reference entry is flush left with the margin. Indent all subsequent lines by half an inch. 

Spacing: Unlike reference entries in APA style, reference entries in Chicago author-date system are single-spaced, with one line space in between entries.

Punctuation: All entries in the references list end with a period. Periods separate most entry elements. Colons follow the publication location, and commas follow the publisher before the publication year. Parentheses do not enclose publication facts.

Authors: The first-listed author’s name is inverted (last name, first name), but subsequent authors are listed as normal without a separating comma (first name last name). Include all authors' names in the reference list. Use "and" to separate authors as needed.

Multiple Works by Same Authors: If working with multiple works by the same author, organize them alphabetically by title.

No Author: If the author is unknown or not listed, the reference entry should begin with a title. Follow formatting depending on the source type. Do not alphabetize by articles (an, a, the). If the author is listed as "Anonymous," use "Anonymous" as the author's name. 

Publication Date: Unlike in notes-bibliography style, the publication date follows the author's name. 

Capitalization: In titles of smaller works and larger works, capitalize all important words.

Italics and Underlining: Italics is used for book titles, magazine or newspaper publications, and journal titles. Underlining is not used in citations, including for DOIs or URLs.

Quotation Marks:  Enclose the title of articles, book chapters, presentations etc. in quotation marks. Use a period inside the closing quotation mark.

Abbreviations: Editions, editors, and translators are abbreviated to "ed.," "eds.," and "trans.," respectively. Spell out "edited by" and "translated by" if they're used. Issue numbers are abbreviated with "no.," but do not abbreviate volume numbers with "vol."  

Pagination: No matter the source type, the abbreviations "p." or "pp." are not used to signify page numbers. Dashes are used for sequential pages, while commas are used for non-sequential pages.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): A unique DOI is assigned to journal articles and always begins with a 10. DOIs provides persistent links to articles, eliminating issues with website URLs changing. However, not all articles have a DOI; additionally, DOIs are visible in some databases but "hidden" in others. If available, a DOI should be listed at the end of the citation.

URLs: URLs are used whenever a DOI is not used or found. If there isn't a DOI but the specific URL to the page makes it inaccessible, use the home page URL of the journal or book publisher. For articles, try to include the URL specifically leading to the article.


No Author or Editor - Reference Book:
In-Text Citation
(College Bound Seniors 1979, 15)
Reference Entry
College Bound Seniors. Princeton: College Board Publications, 1979. 

Entry in a Reference Work:
In-Text Citation

(McLean 2021)

Reference Entry
McLean, Steve. "The Tragically Hip." In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Last modified Jun 4, 2021. 

One Author:
In-Text Citation
(O’Malley 2009, 60)
Reference Entry
O’Malley, Bryan Lee. Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe. Portland: Oni Press, 2009. 

Two Authors:
In-Text Citation
(Green and Leviathan 2011, 100-101)
Reference Entry
Green, John, and David Levithan. Will Grayson, Will Grayson. New York: Speak, 2011.

Three or More Authors:
In-Text Citation
(White, Williams, and Willig 2016, 53)
Reference Entry
White, Karen, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig. The Forgotten Room. New York: Berkley, 2016.
Note: For more than three authors, list all the authors in the reference entry, but only list the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”

Subsequent Edition:
In-Text Citation
(Greig et al. 2004, 69).
Reference Entry
Greig, Anne D., et al. 2004. Doing Research with Children: A Practical Guide. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Edited Book:
In-Text Citation
(Shilling 2003, 53)
Reference Entry
Shilling, Dan, ed. 2003. Conversations on Community. Arizona Humanities Council.

Electronic Book:
In-Text Citation
(Melville 1851, 32)
Reference Entry
Melville, Herman. 1851. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. New York: Harper & Brothers.  

Corporate Author:
In-Text Citation
(Chicago Manual of Style 2022, 12)
Reference Entry
University of Chicago Press. 2022. The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Anthology or Compilation:
In-Text Citation
(Bovalino 2022, 41-42) 
NOTE: When citing a writing from an anthology, use that particular author’s name instead of the overall editor.
Reference Entry
Bovalino, Tori, Erica Waters, Chloe Gong, Hannah Whitten, Allison Saft, Olivia Chadha, Courtney Gould, Aden Polydoros, Alex Brown, and Shakira Toussaint. The Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror. Boston: Page Street Publishing Co., 2022.

Chapter in a Book:
In-Text Citation
(Brower 2015, 220)
Reference Entry
Brower, Kate Andersen. “Backstairs Gossip and Mischief.” In The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, 207–22. New York: Harper, 2015.

Magazine from a Print Source:
In-Text Citation
(Kisner 2023, 7)
Reference Entry
Kisner, Jordan. “Fiction on Trial.” The Atlantic, September 5, 2023.

Magazine Article from an Online Database:
In-Text Citation
(Bosker 2019, 75). 
Reference Entry
Bosker, Bianca. “The End of Silence.” The Atlantic, November 2019, 70–82. EBSCOHost. 

Magazine Article from the Web:
In-Text Citation
(Winter 2023)
Reference Entry
Winter, Jessica. “The Splendor of Wordless Picture Books.” New Yorker, December 16, 2023. 

Journal Article from a Print Source:
In-Text Citation
(Grady et al. 2019, 210). 
Reference Entry
Grady, Jessica Stolzfus, Malina Her, Geena Moreno, Catherine Perez, and Jillian Yelinek. “Emotions in Storybooks: A Comparison of Storybooks that Represent Ethnic and Racial Groups in the United States.” Psychology of Popular Media Culture 8, no. 3 (2019), 207–217.

Journal Article from an Online Database:
In-Text Citation
(LaSalle 2017, 99)
Reference Entry
LaSalle, Peter. 2017. “Conundrum: A Story about Reading.” New England Review 38, no. 1: 
    95–109. Project MUSE.

Journal Article from Web:
In-Text Citation
(Dewi Max et al. 2023, 285-286)
Reference Entry
Dewi Max, Jonathan, Yofi Vivian, Bayu Putra, and Singgih Kuncara. 2023. “Transitivity Analysis of Taylor Swift’s Lyrics in Midnights Album.” Indonesian Journal of EFL and Linguistics 8, no. 2, 279-94. 

Newspaper Article from a Print Source:
In-Text Citation
(Hartocollis 2023, A1)
Reference Entry
Hartocollis, Anemona. “Can Humanities Survive the Budget Cuts?” New York Times, November 5, 2023.

Newspaper Article from an Online Database:
In-Text Citation
(Schulte 2002)
Reference Entry
Schulte, Brigid. "Students Get Help to Cope with Crisis: Schools Put Focus on Mental Health." Washington Post, October 17, 2002. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. 

Newspaper Article from the Web:
In-Text Citation
(Greenberg 2016) 
Reference Entry
Greenberg, James. “The Long, Long Road to Building ‘Fences.’” New York Times, December 22, 2016. 

Conference Paper Proceedings:
In-Text Citation
(Elufiede and Flynn 2015, 3)
Reference Entry
Elufiede, Oluwakemi, and Bonnie Flynn, eds. “Adult and Higher Education in the Contemporary World : Its Role in Cultural Literacy.” In Conference Proceedings of the Adult Higher Education Alliance Annual Conference (35th, Orlando, Florida, March 10-11, 2015). Orlando: Morgridge International Reading Center, University of Central Florida. 

Film or DVD:
In-Text Citation
(Gerwig 2023, 47:49)
Reference Entry
Gerwig, Greta, director. 2023. Barbie. Warner Bros. Pictures. 1 hr., 54 minutes. 

Online VIdeo: 
In-Text Citation
(Geller 2019, 11:11)
Reference Entry
Geller, Jacob. 2019. “Who’s Afraid of Modern Art: Vandalism, Video Games, and Fascism.” YouTube. Educational essay video, 29:15. 

Sound Recording:
In-Text Citation 
(Gosling 2023) OR (Gosling 2023 “I’m Just Ken”)
Note: If you have multiple songs by the same artist, you can list the song title after the year.
Reference Entry
Gosling, Ryan. “I’m Just Ken.” Recorded 2023. Track 8 on Barbie the Album. Atlantic, compact disc. 
Note: If using a streaming service like Apple Music or Spotify, post a link to the song.

Entire Website:
In-Text Citation
(Caulfield 2020)
Reference Entry
Caulfield, Jack. 2020. “A Step-by-Step Guide to the Writing Process.” Scribbr. April 24, 2020.­academic-writing/­writing-process/.

Personal Communication:
In-Text Citation
(Serena Ray, Facebook message to author, September 13, 2019)
Reference Entry
Emails and other unpublished personal correspondence are not usually in a reference list.

Legal and Law Citations:
Most legal decisions use the Harvard Bluebook Style, the standard legal citation used in all disciplines. The Chicago Manual of Style defers to the Harvard Bluebook, and some examples of law citations are included in the Chicago Manual of Style. For any not covered, refer to the Harvard Bluebook.
Note: The most recent edition of the Harvard Bluebook is available at the Polytechnic and Ross-Blakely Law Libraries.

Any work using the author-date style that needs to do more than mention the occasional legal source in the text should therefore use notes for documentation; few include bibliographies. Case names are italicized in the body of your paper and in subsequent shortened notes, not the first note. Full citations include the case name with the v. abbreviation, volume number, abbreviated reporter name, the series number (if included), the abbreviated court name and the date together in parentheses, and other relevant information. One page number cites the opening page of a document, and an additional number is the actual page cited.
1. United States v. Christmas, 222 F.3d 141, 145 (4th Cir. 2000).
2. Christmas, 222 F.3d at 145. (Note: "at" is citing the particular page here. No "at" refers to the decision as a whole.)

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