Footnotes/Endnotes In Chicago Format Citations

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There are many ways in which a researcher can refer to the work of other people used by him. Accordingly, there are different ways to present the information under these formats. A researcher has to abide by all the requirements mentioned in the format prescribed for the work. Chicago citation is a bit different as compared to all other methods because it includes footnotes instead of the usual in-text citations. In the following lines, we will take a look on the footnotes and endnotes used in the Chicago style referencing

Full vs Short Version

There is an option for the researcher to skip the bibliography section for the work. In that case, the full note will be used to show each reference for the first time.


1. Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction,” in Selected Essays, ed. David Bradshaw (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 11.

Shorter notes are used with the surname of the author, a reduced title if there are more than four words long and the exact page number if it is available. All the citations after the first one are provided with the help of short notes.


Woolf, “Modern Fiction”, 11.

It is generally recommended that a bibliography is used in the Chicago style formatting so you will come across only short notes during your work.

Placing Footnotes

Footnotes are used whenever some quotation is placed or text is paraphrased from some other source. Within the text, the footnote is shown as a superscript number and it is shown at the bottom of the relevant page.


Johnson argues that “the data is unconvincing.”1

These numbers should be sequenced in the ascending order all across the document. It is not necessary to start a new number sequence on a new page.

Content of footnotes

The number used to depict the citation is written at the start of the footnote followed by the full citation. Author’s name is included in the citation, text title and it always ends at a period. If a quotation is used, the citation will provide the page number or its range.


1. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus, ed. M.K. Joseph (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 91.

Joining Multiple sources

You can use multiple sources in a single sentence. But they will be represented in a single footnote and semicolon is used to separate the different sources.


1. Hulme, “Romanticism and Classicism”; Eliot, “The Waste Land”; Woolf, “Modern Fiction,” 11.

More than 1 authors

There are many sources which are compiled by more than one author. The Chicago format allows the essay writer to use “et al” if there are 4+ authors in a source. The full note will be “Anna Tsing et al” whereas the short note will be “Tsing et al”.

For two authors, you can use full names of both authors in the full note and last names of both authors in the short note. Similarly, any source with three sources will have full names in the full notes and last names in the short notes.

Missing Information

There are many sources whose information is missing but the writer thinks that some particular information should be added to the source. An example can be given when there is no page number available in some sources. A writer can use the chapter number or some specific paragraph to show the exact place from where the content is taken.


1. Johnson, “Literature Review,” chap. 2.1.

2. Smith, “Thematic Analysis,” under “Methodology.”

In the first example above, we have used the chapter number to refer to the information. In the second example, we have used the chapter and the exact paragraph within it to refer to the information.

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