Which rules are for Chicago style bibliographies?

This is the second and final chapter about Writing Chicago Bibliographies. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Review the concept of a bibliography and which sources should be included

– Provide rules for formatting, ordering and displaying Chicago style bibliographies

– Offer activities to check progress and understanding and improve English proficiency

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Chapter 2

In the first chapter of this short reader on writing Chicago bibliographies, we discussed what a reference is and how the Chicago style uses them to build reference lists. We explained that for each footnote or endnote a writer includes in their essay, they must also include a corresponding reference in an end-of-text bibliography. After that, we looked at how a writer could accurately format their references based on a combination of reference elements, source type and source details (referring also to our reader on referencing sources in Chicago).

In this final chapter on the subject we look more closely at how well-formatted references can be accurately arranged and displayed within a Chicago bibliography, highlighting the details and features that students should also be aware of. Like other referencing styles, Chicago has lots of small rules that students should follow carefully when acknowledging sources within their assignment.


What is a bibliography?

As was explained in Chapter 1, a bibliography is a list of references that’s placed at the end of an assignment or piece of research with careful formatting rules. Different from a reference list, each reference within a bibliography should refer not only to those sources which have been directly cited within the body of an essay (either in the form of a citation, footnote or endnote) but also those publications which were consulted by the author in order to complete the research. 


How should I display my bibliography?

Once you’ve decided precisely which sources should be included in your bibliography and have created accurately formatted references for those sources, the next step is to display your bibliography clearly and accurately. The following are four useful strategies that students should attempt to follow when using the Chicago style:


  1. Include a title at the top of your list, such as ‘Bibliography’
  2. Place your bibliography on a fresh blank page at the end of your assignment
  3. Start every reference on a new line and use hanging indentation to separate those references more clearly
  4. Correctly format your references according to the font types, font sizes and spacing requirements of the Chicago style

Following these rules, an example bibliography might look something like the following; can you figure out any rules for how these references have been ordered?

How should I order my bibliography?

When it comes to ordering the references of your Chicago-style bibliography, there are three aspects that you should remember:


  • Wherever possible, order your references alphabetically from A-Z by the first author’s family name.
  • If you cannot order your references alphabetically by family name because two references are authored by the same author (or set of authors), instead order those references chronologically (from youngest to oldest) by the year the source was published.
  • If chronological ordering is also insufficient because the authors and publication year are identical (this rarely happens), order your references by the title of the source.


Are there any other rules to remember?

The only other rules that students should additionally abide by when referencing in the Chicago style are included below:


  1. Do not use the Latin phrase ‘et al.’ to identify four or more authors in your reference list; instead, write those authors’ names out in full.
  2. When referencing a source which has multiple authors in your bibliography, write the first author’s name in the order of (surname, first name) but each subsequent author using (first name surname).
  3. For sources which have no authors or authoring organisation, order the source within in your bibliography alphabetically using its source title.
  4. End all references in your bibliography with a full stop (.).
  5. Using 1.3cm hanging indentation for each reference in your bibliography.

Well done for completing this short reader on writing Chicago bibliographies. To find out how to overcome other referencing situations not covered here, consider completing our short readers on referencing challenges. Otherwise, unlock and complete our Chapter 1 and 2 Worksheets to check your progress and understanding and improve your academic English proficiency.

2 of 2 Chapters Completed


Once you’ve completed both chapters in this short reader about Writing Chicago Bibliographies, you might then wish to download our Chapter Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Chapter 1 explores the topic: How are Chicago references built and formatted? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 2 explores the topic: Which rules are for Chicago style bibliographies? Our Chapter 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 1 Marks, click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Writing Chicago Bibliographies Chapter Worksheets. This All-in-1 Pack includes every chapter, activity and answer key related to this topic in one handy and professional PDF.

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Spring 2022