Turabian Style Guide With Examples

Turabian Style was developed especially for students by Kate Turabian, the dissertation secretary at the University of Chicago, and based on the Chicago style of writing. Turabian Style is used mainly for history papers, but it is sometimes used in other disciplines.

Chicago style is a standard used for formatting scholarly books. Turabian knew that most students are concerned with writing papers, so she narrowed the focus and refined the rules specifically for paper writing. Turabian style omits some of the information that is relevant for publishing, but it also departs from Chicago Style in a few other ways.

Turabian style allows writers to choose from two systems of citing information:

  1. The notes and bibliography method allows students will use footnotes or endnotes in the text and a bibliography at the end of the paper.
  2. The parenthetical method lets writers use in-text citations (similar to those used in MLA style). Those papers would also include a reference list of works cited at the end.
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Differences From MLA

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Grace Fleming

Generally, the feature that sets Turabian Style apart from MLA is the use of endnotes or footnotes, so this is most likely the style that most instructors will expect to see in your paper. If a teacher instructs you to use Turabian style and does not specify which citation system to use, use the notes and bibliography style.

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Endnotes and Footnotes

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As you write your paper, you will want to use quotations from a book or other source. You must always provide a citation for a quote to show its origin. Also, you must provide a citation for any information that is not common knowledge

Whether something is common knowledge is not always clear, so the best idea is to provide a citation for important facts that you bring up if you have any doubt. An example of common knowledge would be: Some chickens lay brown eggs. By contrast, an example of a fact that is not common knowledge would be: Some chickens lay blue and green eggs. You would need to include a citation for this second statement.

You may also use a footnote/endnote to clarify a passage that may confuse some readers. For instance, you may mention in your paper that the story of "Frankenstein" was written during a friendly writing game among friends. Many readers may know this, but others may want an explanation.

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Inserting a Footnote

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Microsoft product screen shot reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.

To insert a footnote in Turabian style:

  1. Make sure your cursor is placed in the exact spot where you want your note (number) to appear.
  2. In most word processing programs, go to the "Reference" tab to find footnote options.
  3. Click either "Footnotes" or "Endnotes" (whichever you want to use in your paper).
  4. Once you select either footnote or endnote, the superscript (number) will appear on the page. Your cursor will jump to the bottom (or end) of the page and you will have the opportunity to type the citation or other information. 
  5. When you finish typing the note, scroll back to your text and continue writing your paper.

Formatting and numbering of the notes are automatic in word processors, so you don’t have to worry about spacing and placement. The software will also automatically renumber your notes if you delete one or you decide to insert one at a later time.​

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Citation for a Book

In Turabian citations, always italicize or underline the name of a book and put the title of an article in quotation marks. The citations follow the style shown ​here.

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Citation for a Book With Two Authors

Follow this style guide if the book has two authors.

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Citation for an Edited Book With Stories Inside

An edited book may contain many articles or stories written by different authors.

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Article Citation

Notice how the author's name changes from the footnote to the bibliography.

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Encyclopedia

You should list a citation for an encyclopedia in the footnote, but you don't need to include it in your bibliography.