Citation Style For History Essays Examples

  • MLA Style – Developed by the Modern Language Association, a non-profit member organization that promotes the teaching and study of literature and language. Visit www.mla.org.
  • Chicago Style – Developed by the University of Chicago. This style is sometimes known as Turabian Style.

Both of these styles place bibliographic citations at the bottom of the page as footnotes, or at the end of a paper as endnotes. Both citation styles are equally acceptable, and each has a series of rules for the citation of different kinds of sources, such as books, journal articles, chapters in collected works, etc. Each style also has a particular format for your bibliography, which must be included at the very end of your paper for the reader’s information. The bibliography is sometimes referred to as the works cited page, and it is an alphabetized summary of all of the sources you have consulted during the investigation of your topic.

Whether you choose to use the MLA or Chicago citation style, what is most important is that you use that style consistently throughout your paper. This will help the reader to review your source material more easily. Keeping your citation format consistent is a key feature of a well presented and well referenced argument. Both the MLA and the University of Chicago Press publish comprehensive guides to their citation styles, which can be purchased through their web sites, as well as in bookstores. The MLA Handbook citation guide is also available in the Reference section of Koerner Library under the following call number: LB.2369.M63 1995. A series of basic examples in MLA style is found in Part III. A more comprehensive online resource for the MLA citation format is available through the Faculty of Arts web site.

Inappropriate citation styles for the Humanities include APA Style, developed by the American Psychological Association, and CBE Style, developed by The Council of Biology Editors. These styles are commonly used in the Social Sciences and the Sciences, respectively, and feature in-text citations instead of footnotes or endnotes. These are not generally accepted citation formats in History papers. Some work done in interdisciplinary fields may incorporate in-text citations, however. If you feel that using in-text citations might be appropriate for your paper, consult your instructor or TA.

Introduction

This guide is based on The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) and provides only selected citation examples for commonly used sources, and of notes/bibliography style only. For more detailed information, directly consult a print copy or online version of the style manual available at the SFU Library and at the SFU Bookstore.

Chicago style is sometimes referred to as Turabian style, which is a modified version of Chicago style, and which is outlined in Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7thed. [print].

For the best printing results, use the printer-friendly PDF format of this guide.

Keep track of your document references/citations and format your reference lists easily with citation management software.

General notes on Chicago Style

Chicago style outlines two distinct citation styles (14.2):

  • Notes/bibliography style, also known as "Humanities style." Sources are cited through footnotes (or endnotes) and a bibliography
  • Author/date style, also known as "Scientific/Social Sciences style." Sources are cited through parenthetical author/date references in the text and a reference list

Please note that this guide covers only the Humanities style.

It is recommended practice, but not absolutely necessary, to cite your sources in both the notes and the bibliography. The practice of including both notes and a bibliography is still common practice amongst humanities scholars, so make sure to consult your instructor.

If you choose not to include a bibliography in your paper or choose to create only a partial list of references, you must provide full details of the sources you cited in your notes. (The first time you mention a work in the notes, you must provide full publication details.  All subsequent notes of the same work can be written in short form.)  If, on the other hand, your bibliography includes all sources cited in the notes, you need not provide full publication details in the notes since a reader can consult the bibliography (14.14).

Your paper must be double-spaced. It is conventional to single-space footnotes and bibliographies, leaving a blank line between entries.

Every page of the paper must be assigned a page number, including blank pages, appendices, and bibliography. Arabic numerals are centered or flush right at the top of the page.

You need to cite and document any sources that you have consulted, even if you presented the ideas from these sources in your own words (13.1 - 13.6). You need to cite:

  • to identify other people's ideas and information used within your essay
  • to inform the reader of your paper where they should look if they want to find the same sources

A citation must appear in two places in your essay (14.19):

  • in the notes (footnotes or endnotes)
  • in the bibliography (at the end of your paper)

To introduce other people's ideas in text, use the following examples:

Use Webster's Third New International Dictionary [print] and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary [print] for standard spelling references for all Chicago citations (7.1).

You are responsible for the accuracy of all information in your notes and bibliography (13.6).

References in text: footnotes and endnotes (14.14 - 14.60)

In Chicago notes/bibliography style, footnotes or endnotes are used to cite quotes, paraphrases, and other in-text references (14.14-14.60).

  • Footnotes are numbered citations listed at the bottom of each page in the research paper
  • Endnotes are numbered citations listed at the end of the research paper

To cite a source, a small superscript (raised) number is placed after each in-text reference. Throughout the paper, these in-text references are numbered in sequential order (14.20). For example:

Each numbered reference then corresponds to a numbered citation in the footnote or endnote that provides author, date, and publication information for each source (14.14). The numbers in the notes are full size, not raised, and followed by a period.

Citations in notes are single-spaced (unless otherwise instructed), but there is a double space between entries. The first line is indented.

References in text: shortened citations (14.108, 14.111, 14.275, 14.29-14.36)

The first in-text reference to a given source must be cited in full with the name of the author/s, title of the work, place of publication, name of the publisher, and page number/s of the cited reference (14.19-14.20). For example:    

Subsequent notes for sources that have already been cited may be shortened to the author's last name, abbreviated title, and the appropriate page reference (14.25). For example:

Immediately following notes that refer to the same source may be shortened even further to "ibid." (short for 'ibidem' - the Latin word for "in the same place") and the appropriate page reference (14.34). For example:

Bibliography (14.19 - 14.23; 14.61 - 14.71)

The list of sources at the end of the paper or at the end of the chapter is called the bibliography. This list must include all references cited in the text of your paper (14.62 - 14.71).

In the bibliography, entries are listed in alphabetical order according to the authors' last names. If no author or editor is provided, the work's title may be used instead (14.65).

Entries are double-spaced, but single-spacing is used within each entry. The second and subsequent lines are indented.

When the bibliography includes multiple entries by the same author listed together, a 3-em dash may be used to replace the author's name after the first entry (14.67 - 14.70). For example:

For more information about how to format your bibliography, see sections 14.61 - 14.71.

Common abbreviations (10.1 - 10.69)

When books have editors, translators, or compilers, the following abbreviations are used (10.42, 14.72 - 14.84):

  • one editor - ed. / two or more editors - eds.
  • translators - trans.
  • one compiler - comp. / two or more compilers - comps.

For editions of books other than the first, the edition number (or description) and the abbreviation "ed." are placed after the book's title in all notes and bibliographic citations (14.112 - 14.115). For example:

  • second edition - 2nd ed.
  • revised edition - rev. ed.

Additional sources

Chicago Manual of Style

Turabian Style

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