For Students

Welcome students! Do you need to learn the basics of “Chicago Style” for writing and formatting research papers? This post serves as an introduction and includes paper-formatting tip sheets, frequently asked questions, and 26 topic sheets for teachers to use in the classroom.

Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is the student version of The Chicago Manual of Style, aimed at college and graduate students who are writing papers, theses, and dissertations that are not intended for publication. (The Chicago Manual of Style is aimed at professional scholars and publishers.) Turabian’s book for beginning writers, the Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers, is written with high school and undergraduate students in mind. All three books are compatible, and all are official “Chicago Style.”

Paper-Formatting Tip Sheets

  1. How Do I Format Margins and Page Numbers?
  2. How Do I Format a Title Page?
  3. How Do I Format a Contents Page?
  4. How Do I Format a List of Figures?
  5. How Do I Format an Introduction or Conclusion?
  6. How Do I Format the Main Text?
  7. How Do I Format Sections and Subheads?
  8. How Do I Format a Chapter Opening Page?
  9. How Do I Format a Figure and Figure Caption?
  10. How Do I Format a Bibliography?
  11. How Do I Format Endnotes?
  12. How Do I Format Footnotes?
  13. How Do I Format Parenthetical Author-Date Citations?
  14. How Do I Format a Reference List?

Chicago Style Basics

Crash Course in Citations

If you need to write a note or bibliography citation for books, articles, and other common sources, you can find examples to follow here.

Quick guide to Turabian-style citations
Quick guide to Chicago-style citations

Crafting a Paper

If you are writing your first paper or trying to improve your skills, these one-page tip sheets are written with you in mind. Read the ones that interest you or download all 26 topics in one PDF.

  1. Why Research?
  2. Choosing a Topic: Research Questions
  3. Core of an Argument = Claim + Reasons + Evidence
  4. Plan Your Research Around the Questions of Argument
  5. How to Plan Your Time
  6. Finding a Research Question
  7. Academic Language of Research—Assignments
  8. Academic Language of Research—How to Position Your Idea
  9. Tell and Retell Your Elevator Story
  10. Finding Relevant and Reliable Sources
  11. Write as You Read
  12. How Arguments Grow from Questions
  13. Academic Language of Research—Acknowledging
  14. Academic Language of Research—Responding
  15. Planning Your Draft
  16. Working Through Writer’s Block: Getting Unstuck
  17. When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize
  18. Academic Language of Research—Verbs for Introducing a Quotation or Paraphrase
  19. Three Principles for Citing Sources
  20. The Dramatic Pattern of Introductions and Fairy Tales
  21. Writing an Introduction
  22. Drafting a Conclusion
  23. Writing Your Title
  24. Revising Your Draft: Shape (Organization), Introduction and Conclusion, Sentence Level
  25. Five Principles for Clear Sentences
  26. Accepting Feedback

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Send it to While we are unable to answer every question we receive, we may use it in a future blog post or in our monthly Chicago Manual of Style Q&A.

Photo: Marvin Meyer, via Unsplash.