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Turabian Citation Style Guide

What is Turabian format?

Turabian is a citation and formatting style for academic papers. The use of Turabian is common at lower levels of education, such as undergrad or high school. Turabian is for papers that are not intended for publication.

Turabian style is named after Kate Turabian. She was the dissertation secretary at the University of Chicago. She developed the style specifically with the needs of students (rather than professional scholars) in mind. The 1st edition of the Turabian style guide was published in the year 1955. The guide is now on its 9th edition.

Turabian style is almost identical to Chicago style. In particular, both styles share the same basic citation and referencing guidelines. The main difference is that the Turabian guide is intended for students and not professionals.

The present guide provided by Ultius will do three main things. First, it will outline the key differences between Chicago style and Turabian style. It will also consider the similarities. Second, it will describe the basics of Turabian page format. Third, it will describe how to do citations and references in Turabian style. Turabian includes two options: notes–bibliography format, and author–date format. Both will be discussed here.

Quick additional note

A related style, called Chicago (CMS) style, is virtually identical to Turabian style. This means that if you need papers cited in Chicago style, this guide can help you with that as well.

Table of contents

This guide will include the following sections:

After reading this guide, you should feel much more confident in your ability to effectively follow and utilize Turabian style.

Differences between Turabian and Chicago

When you first look at Turabian, it may be difficult to notice why it's a different style than Chicago. We will now go over the differences between the two style guides.


Putting the two most recent editions of the manuals side by side, it is clear that the Turabian guide is much shorter than the Chicago guide.

Style guide Turabian Chicago
Page length 464 1146

In terms of page count, then, the Turabian guide is only 40 percent as long as the Chicago guide. This means that Turabian should be much easier to navigate for students. This makes sense, since Turabian is intended for students who are just starting out with writing academic papers.


One key feature of the Turabian guide is that it includes a lot of information on the research process. The first 132 pages of the current Turabian guide is actually focused not on source citations, but rather on the process of writing an academic paper.

Turabian table of contents
Here is a list of the table of contents for the first part of the guide, so that you can get an idea of what it covers.
Chapter Title
1 What is Research?
2 Topic to Question to Hypothesis
3 Finding Useful Sources
4 Engaging Sources
5 Planning Your Argument
6 Planning a First Draft
7 Drafting Your Report
8 Presenting Evidence
9 Revising Your Draft
10 Writing the Introduction and Conclusion
11 Revising Sentences
12 Learning from Your Returned Paper
13 Presenting Research
14 The Spirit of Research

As you can see, this is very thorough.

The Chicago style guide is very different. This is because it is designed for grad students and professionals. So, it does not focus on the basics of how to research and write an essay. Rather, it focuses far more on the mechanics of accurately citing sources. It also focuses on how to prepare a paper for publication. Again, Turabian is specifically meant for papers that are not going to be published.


Chicago style is older than Turabian style. Indeed, Chicago style was one of the first formal styles created. Turabian style came later and was an adaptation of Chicago style. Again, this happened because Kate Turabian wanted to develop a manual that was specifically geared toward younger students.

Similarities between Turabian and Chicago

The differences between Turabian and Chicago have been described above. Pretty much everything else is the same.

For example, Turabian uses the exact same citation and referencing format as Chicago. When it comes to this, there is absolutely no difference between them. This is especially the case since Kate Turabian died in 1987. After that, Turabian citation style has become identical with Chicago citation style.

For all practical purposes, then, Chicago and Turabian are exactly the same. You use them in the same way. The Chicago and Turabian guides are very different from each other. These differences have been described above. But when it comes to making citations, there is absolutely no difference between them.

If your professor tells you to use Turabian referencing, then you can use Chicago. And if your professor tells you to use Chicago referencing, then you can use Turabian. They are interchangable.

We will now get into Turabian formatting and referencing style.

Turabian basics

Here are some of the basics of Turabian style.

Font easy to read (such as Times New Roman)
Font size 10 to 12, usually 12
Page margins at least 1 inch all around: usually 1 inch, sometimes it can be more
Line spacing double for the body of the paper; single for footnotes and the reference page
Page size 8.5" x 11" (standard US letter size)

Sometimes, Turabian allows you to omit the title page and just put the title of your essay on the first page of text. You should always follow your professor's specific instructions about these things. Your professor's instructions are always more important than the basic format.

Sample Turabian title page
Like in Chicago style, Turabian titles appears in all caps, centered, and one-third of the way down the page. Remember, you can omit the title page if you're using Turabian style.

Notes–bibliography format

Here are some of the basics of Turabian style.

Let's first discuss how the footnotes work. Then we'll turn to the bibliography.


Here are the standard formats for footnotes in Turabian style. This table lists three common types of sources: books, journal articles, and websites.

Source type Footnote template Footnote example
book Firstname Lastname, Title of Book (Publishing City: Publisher, Year), page #. Dante Frizzoli, Virgil and the Founding of Rome (New York: Dixon Publishing Corp, 2004), 11.
journal article Firstname Lastname, "Title of Article," Name of Journal volume #, no. issue # (Year): page number. John Smith, "On Gender Inequality," Journal of Justice 16, no. 4 (2004): 60.
website Firstname Lastname, "Title of Article," Name of Website, accessed Date, URL. Timothy O'Connor, "Free Will," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed February 25, 2019, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/.

So when, you cite a source in Turabian style, you must add a footnote to your essay. This can be done from the "Insert" tab on Microsoft Word. Then you list the full citation in the footnote according to the formats above.

Typically, footnotes should be single spaced. But there should be an additional line of space between different footnotes on the same page.

Citing a source multiple times

In Turabian style, you only have to list the whole citation in the footnote the first time you use the source in your paper. After that, you can just list the last name of the author and the page number. Author and page number should be separated by a comma. For example: Smith, 62.

How to use ibid.

The word "ibid." is also important for footnotes in Turabian style. You use this when you are citing the same source multiple times in a row.

For example, say you have three citations to a source by Smith in a row. The first citation would include the full footnote information for the source. Then, in the second and third citations, you can just write "Ibid." followed by a comma and the page number.

If the page number is the same for all the citations, then you can just write Ibid. without a page number each time.


In Turabian notes–bibliography format, the bibliography entries strongly resemble the footnote entries. But there are also some minor differences.

Source type Footnote template Footnote example
book Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Publishing City: Publisher Year. Frizzoli, Dante. Virgil and the Founding of Rome. New York: Dixon Publishing Corp, 2004.
journal article Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Name of Journal volume #, no. issue # (Year): pages of article. Smith, John. "On Gender Inequality." Journal of Justice 16, no. 4 (2004): 60-79.
website Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article," Name of Website. Accessed Date. URL. O'Connor, Timothy. "Free Will," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed February 25, 2019. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/.

One key difference is that in the bibliography entry, the last name of the author should go first. This is different from the footnote entry, where the first name goes first.

Also, as you can see, some of the punctuation changes. In general, commas in the footnote entries turn into periods in the bibliography entries.

Note on multiple authors

If there is more than one author, though, you make this switch only for the first author. So, a full footnote entry would start: Dante Frizzoli and John Smith. In contrast, the bibliography entry would say: Frizzoli, Dante, and John Smith.

This is because the bibliography is alphabetized by last names of authors. So, the last name needs to go first so that the reader can easily locate the source.

Oh, and yes: you do need to alphabetize your bibliography. This means that authors with last names that start with A need to go at the top of the list, and authors with last names later in the alphabet need to go further down. This should be simple enough.

Page format

The bibliography page should be a new page at the end of your Turabian essay. The word Bibliography should be written in normal font and centered at the top of the page.

Also, the bibliography should be single spaced. There should be an additional space between each bibliography entry. Also, if an entry takes two or more lines, then all lines after the first line should be indented.

Author–date format

Author–date format is a relatively rare variation in Turabian style. This is most often used if you are asked to write a Turabian science paper. In the hard sciences, the date of publication is often an important piece of information. Author–date format highlights this information.

In-text citations

In author-date format, you will use not footnotes but rather in-text citations. The standard format for this is: (Author Year, p.#). So, a sample citation may look like this: (Frizzoli 2004, 64). That will be the full in-text citation, no matter what type of source it is.

If there are two authors, separate them by the world and: (Frizzoli and Smith 2004, 64).

If there are three to five authors, use commas to separate most of them: (Frizzoli, Smith, Coolidge and West 2004, 64).

If there are more than five authors, then use the phrase "et al.": (Frizzoli et al. 2004, 64).


The bibliography for Turabian author–date format is a lot like the bibliography for notes–bibliography format. The only difference is that the year goes in a different place.

Source type Footnote template Footnote example
book Lastname, Firstname. Year. Title of Book. Publishing City: Publisher. Frizzoli, Dante. 2004. Virgil and the Founding of Rome. New York: Dixon Publishing Corp.
journal article Lastname, Firstname. Year. "Title of Article." Name of Journal volume #, no. issue #: pages of article. Smith, John. 2004. "On Gender Inequality." Journal of Justice 16, no. 4: 60-79.
website Lastname, Firstname. Publication Date. "Title of Article," Name of Website. Accessed Date. URL. O'Connor, Timothy. 2018. "Free Will," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed February 25, 2019. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/.

As you can see, the year of publication moves up to right after the author's name. This is different from notes–bibliography style, where the year goes at the end of the citation.

Why the difference?

In general, Turabian author–date format is used in the hard sciences. In contrast, note–bibliography format is used in the humanities.

This is because in the humanities, the date of publication doesn't matter as much: many sources are old but never get outdated. In science, though, it is important to know how recent a research study is. Hence author–date format.

If you need more examples, you can buy Turabian paper samples from Ultius.

Turabian samples, templates, and downloads for you to use

Turabian (9th ed.)Kate L. Turabian's manual for research papers, theses, and dissertations
Type, name, and descriptionModified
Manuals and guides
Turabian Style HandbookPDF · 9th edition · 550 pages · © University of Chicago Press
Jan. 11, 2019
Turabian Mini GuideMicrosoft PowerPoint · © Ultius, Inc.
Mar. 25, 2019
Turabian template (blank)Microsoft Word · © Ultius, Inc.
Jan. 11, 2019
Turabian Sample Paper (#1)PDF · © Ultius, Inc.
Jan. 11, 2019
Turabian Guided SamplePDF · © Ultius, Inc.
Jan. 11, 2019

* External works are subject to copyright by the respective owners. Please use these resources at your own risk.

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