How Do I Format an Introduction or Conclusion in Turabian/Chicago Style?

Many theses and dissertations (and some long class papers) begin with a section that previews the entire paper and is so distinct that the writer separates it from the rest of the paper. Such papers may also end with a conclusion that is long enough to treat as a separate element.

Here’s how to set up a Chicago-style introduction (or conclusion) page following the guidelines in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. (See sections A.2.2.1 and A.2.2.7 in the appendix called “Paper Format and Submission.”)

  • If you begin with an introduction, label the first page Introduction at the top of the page.
  • Leave two blank lines between the title and the first line of text.
  • Format the body of your introduction the same as the main text of your paper.
  • If the substance of your introductory material is not clearly distinct from the chapters that follow it, consider incorporating it into your first chapter.
  • If you include a conclusion, label the first page Conclusion at the top of the page.
  • Leave two blank lines between the title and the first line of text.
  • Format the body of your conclusion the same as the main text.
  • An alternative is to make the conclusion the last numbered chapter of your paper if you want to emphasize its connection to the rest of your text. If so, treat the word Conclusion as a chapter title (see A.2.2.3).

For more details, see the sample Introduction page below and sections A.2.2.1 and A.2.2.7 of Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

Sample Introduction Page

IMPORTANT: Your instructor’s requirements may overrule Chicago’s formatting recommendations! 

The Turabian tip sheets illustrate everything you need to know for formatting a student paper in Chicago style. They are fully compatible with The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.). You can print them and download them.

  1. Margins and Page Numbers
  2. Title Page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. List of Tables and Figures
  5. Introduction or Conclusion
  6. Main Text
  7. Sections and Subheads
  8. Chapter Opening Page
  9. Figure and Figure Caption
  10. Bibliography
  11. Endnotes
  12. Footnotes
  13. Parenthetical Citations
  14. Reference List

For more tips for students, visit Turabian.org.

Important note for students: Always ask your instructor if there are any special requirements in place of or in addition to Chicago’s formatting recommendations.

For Turabian fans, our Chicago-style design: “Stamp of Approval”

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