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Chicago Referencing Style

The Chicago Manual of Style or Chicago Referencing Style offers writing and citation guidelines that are prominently used in the publishing industry. It was first published by the University of Chicago Press in 1906 and is now on its 16th edition.

Unlike other referencing systems, the Chicago style of referencing is not limited to using only the Notes system or the Parenthetical referencing system. Rather, it can be presented using either the 'Notes-Bibliography system' or 'Parenthetical system', the use of which depends on the subject discipline and the type of sources cited.


1. The Chicago referencing style that follows the Notes-Bibliography system is commonly used in Humanities subjects such as History, Arts and Literature. Here are some general guidelines for this type of Chicago style of citation:



  • These are used for citations within the text
  • Numbered in Arabic numerals, arranged consecutively and in superscript
  • Inserted at the end of a phrase, clause or sentence, following the punctuation mark used.
  • Follows a prescribed format such as:

The author's full name (first name and last name), publishing details of reference (enclosed in brackets), title of the reference (in double quotation marks).



  • Lists all sources consulted regardless of whether it has been cited directly or not
  • The entries are arranged alphabetically by the first author's family name.
  • Follows a format similar to footnotes with the following differences:
  • The first author's name is inverted (last name and first name)
  • The citation sections are separated not by commas, but by full stops
  • Publishing details are not enclosed in brackets


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2. The Chicago Referencing Style which uses the Parenthetical or Author-Date system is mainly used in the Sciences and Social Sciences disciplines. Instead of footnotes, this style uses in-text citations. Here are some general rules on this second type of Chicago referencing:


In-text citations:

  • Consists of the author's last name and year of publication
  • No punctuation is used in between, e.g. (Author 2011)

Reference List:

  • Provides full bibliographic detail of the citations used within the text
  • Format used varies on the type of source used but each section is generally separated by full stops.


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