How Do I Format a Reference List in Turabian/Chicago Style?

If you cite your sources in your thesis or dissertation (or class paper) using the author-date system, you will need to include a reference list. A reference list normally includes full bibliographic information for every source you cited in the text with a parenthetical citation. Place the reference list at the end of the paper.

Here’s how to format a reference list for a Chicago-style paper following the guidelines in Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

  • Center the title Reference List at the top of the first page.
  • Add two blank lines between the title and the first entry.
  • Entries appear flush left; leave the right margin “ragged.”
  • Apply half-inch hanging indents for each entry.
  • Single-space the entries, but add a blank line between entries.
  • For multiple works by the same author(s), replace the name(s) with a 3-em dash in all entries after the first. Use letters (a, b, etc.) to differentiate works published in the same year.

To see what this looks like, consult the sample page below. For more details, see chapters 18 and 19 in the Turabian Manual. See also section A.2.3.5 in the Turabian appendix on paper format and submission.

Sample Page of a Reference List

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

Turabian Manual Ninth EditionThe 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

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Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, written specifically for students, covers every aspect of research paper writing, from thinking up a topic to submitting the paper in official Chicago format. Turabian’s guidelines are compatible with The Chicago Manual of Style.

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