Chicago Style Bibliography – Formatting & Example

20.11.22 Chicago style Time to read: 4min

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The Chicago style bibliography is one of the final elements of an academic essay, research paper, or book. Following the Chicago Manual of Style, a bibliography is not always mandatory but is thoroughly recommended for well-presented research. Learn how to write and format your Chicago style bibliography below.

Chicago Style Bibliography – In a Nutshell

  • A Chicago style bibliography applies to note and bibliography citation methods.
  • The bibliography appears at the end of your main text and works as a repository for all citations made within your paper. You can also include extraneous material that you have consulted in the process.
  • Ensure that your bibliography is alphabetized by the author’s last name and follows the formatting requirements so that it is easy to consult.

Definition: Chicago style bibliography

The Chicago Manual of Style is a style guide widely adopted by the arts, humanities, and sciences. With over a century of use, it’s among the most versatile writing styles because of its advocation of both author-date citation and notes and bibliography methods.

A Chicago style bibliography is the Works Cited section of your paper, and it applies to research that utilizes the notes and bibliography citation style. A Chicago style bibliography works as a reference list of all sources you’ve referred to, and appears in alphabetical order by last name. Those using the Chicago author-date method of citation require a “References” page instead.

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Chicago style bibliography citations

Chicago style bibliography entries differ in format depending on the source type. The basic principle is the same; with name, title, publication, and year among the key elements to help your readers locate the sources. Here’s a guide to the formatting of common entries:


Format: Author Last Name, First Name. Title. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, Year. DOI/URL.
Example: Warburton, Nigel. Philosophy. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013.

Book chapter

Format: Author Last Name, First Name. “Chapter Title.” In Book Title, edited by Editor Full Name, page range. Place of publication: Publisher, Year. DOI/URL.
Example: Husserl, Edmund. "The Vienna Lecture." In The Continental Philosophy Reader, edited by Richard Kearney, 7-14. London: Routledge, 1996.

Journal article

Format: Author Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Journal Name Volume, no. Issue (Month Year): Page range. DOI/URL.
Example: Frances, Bryan. 2021. "Philosophical Proofs against Common Sense". Analysis. 81, no. 1: 18-26.


Format: Author Last Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Name. Month Day, Year. URL.
Example: Pollard, Christopher. “Karl Marx: His Philosophy Explained.” The Conversation. July 4, 2022.

Formatting the Chicago style bibliography

A Chicago style bibliography appears at the end of your paper’s main body. It should be bold and center-titled “Bibliography”. Unlike your paper, the Chicago style bibliography is not double-spaced. Instead, use single spacing with a single line between each entry. Every entry that takes up more than one line should also be indented 0.5-inches from its second line.

Example of Chicago style bibliography


  • Frances, Bryan. 2021. “Philosophical Proofs against Common Sense”. Analysis. 81, no. 1: 18-26.
  • Pollard, Christopher. “Karl Marx: His Philosophy Explained.” The Conversation. July 4, 2022.
  • Warburton, Nigel. Philosophy. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013.

Listing authors in the Chicago style bibliography

Author names listed in a bibliography are always inverted, with the last name coming first, followed by the first and any other names. This is then alphabetized to help readers locate sources with ease.

For sources with no named author, go straight to the title of the source or use the named organisation (like Oxford University Press). Order no-author titles alphabetically.

Sources with multiple authors

Many sources are created by more than one author. For these multi-author sources, the first listed author’s name appears inverted followed by all other authors in the normal order, separated by commas. This is true for sources with up to 10 authors. For sources created by more than 10 authors, list the first seven and then write “et al.”.

Multiple Sources, one author

Your Chicago style bibliography will likely reference multiple sources from the same author. For these, the list of sources by that one author is organised alphabetically by title within the bibliography. The author’s name also appears only for the first listing, with all subsequent entries including three em dashes (———) in place of the name.


Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books, 1989.

———. Hawking on the Big Bang and Black Holes. Singapore: World Scientific, 1993.

Chicago style bibliography or reference list?

While they essentially serve the same function, a bibliography and a reference list work in different Chicago citation system styles:

  • A reference list is required for author-date style citation.
  • A bibliography is recommended for note-based citation.

However, a bibliography is not mandatory if you’re providing full notes. It’s still recommended to include a bibliography, particularly if you’re dealing with more than a few sources.

There are format differences between a bibliography and a reference list, too:

  • A reference list is center-headed “References.”
  • In the list of alphabetical entries, the publication date is included right after the author’s name. This allows readers to easily find the complete author-date reference as it appears within the text.
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A Chicago style bibliography is single-spaced, with an 0.5-inch hanging indent for all entries over one line. Leave a single space between each entry.

You can. As a general bibliography, you can list all the sources you have consulted in writing your paper, even if they’re not necessarily referenced within the main body itself.

If you’re using the note and bibliography Chicago style, a bibliography is required. If you’re using full notes, a bibliography isn’t mandatory but is still recommended.

With archival material, the note includes the full details, like box number and material type. The bibliography lists the original author followed by the archive name and location.