For essay writing at A’level and beyond, it becomes important to learn how to reference correctly.  There are a range of different referencing systems named after the universities that popularize the method.

The Chicago referencing system provides two ways of referencing – in text or using footnotes or endnotes.  The method using notes and bibliography is used in the humanities and the in text method (using only author name and date in text) is preferred for science subjects.

This referencing system was first recorded in the Chicago Manual of Style, published in 1906.  It was one of the earliest editorial style manuals to be published in the United States.  It is now in its fifteenth edition and the latest version (published in 2003) included sections on the new language usage that has emerged because of computing and online publishing.

In the Chicago referencing style, references for material taken from books should appear as follows:

Author-date system (usually for science subjects) appears as follows:

In text: Write author surname, date of publication, page number:-

(Cottrell, 2008, 23)

Bibliography: The reader can then refer to your reference list for the full listing, which you write as author surname, author first name in full, date of publication, title in italics, place and name of publisher:-

Cottrell, Stella. 2008. The Study Skills Handbook.  Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

For the humanities, the reference appears in a footnote or endnote giving the author’s first name in full, then the surname, book title in italics, and then in brackets the place of publication, publisher name and date of publication.  The brackets are then closed and the page number appears outside of them:-

Stella Cottrell, The Study Skills Handbook (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 23.

In the bibliography, the reference is shown as – surname, first name in full, title of book in italics, place of publication, publisher’s name and then the date of publication.

Cottrell, Stella. The Study Skills Handbook.  Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

A full listing, giving how references should be produced in Chicago style for material taken from journals or website sources can be found at the University of Chicago’s website:

If you need information about the Harvard, Oxford or Vancouver styles, have a look at our previous blog.

Do you need essay writing tips for another type of referencing system?  If so, use the comment box below to let us know.