Creating Bibliography And Footnotes In Chicago Referencing

Bibliography and footnotes are two different things often found in research papers and dissertations. Both of them give information about something. Now, the type of information they give differs in some contexts. Both of these terms follow different writing styles, e.g., APA, Harvard or Chicago. Many people know how to write references in the form of APA and Harvard as they are primarily used in papers. Chicago style is different and has some other guidelines compared to the ones mentioned above. This will also be the centre of our today’s discussion. Before moving further, let’s define the bibliography and footnotes and their importance in research.

Bibliography & Footnotes

A bibliography lists all the sources related to your research or dissertation writing work. A bibliography entry, in general, includes the author’s name, the title of the work, the date of publication, etc. The formatting of bibliographic entry depends on the type of chosen referencing and formatting style. It is important to remember that a bibliography contain all references that you have used as well as consulted for your research.

On the other hand, a footnote is an additional information about a reference or phrase for the readers. Wherever a footnote is required, the author indicates it within the text with a numbered superscript. Upon seeing the superscript, the reader understands that more information is associated with this line. When the reader clicks the superscript he is directed to the bottom of page where the reference entry is present.

In Chicago Style

It was the University of Chicago which developed this style for students of humanities. Both bibliographies and footnotes are used since the very beginning of this style. The question is how to write these things in Chicago style. Below is the complete guide on this topic. The structure and examples of Chicago style are as follow:

Publication with only one author

On the internet, you may have seen publications with only one author. The papers with one author are as credible as the papers with multiple authors. You donot have to worry about the credibility just because of one author. There are multiple ways to find out the credibility of your source. But for now the question is how will you structure the bibliography and footnote in Chicago style in such cases? Let’s learn.


The standard structure for a bibliography with one author is;

Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

Williams, John. “Rule by Fear.” 2nd Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003


As described earlier, footnotes come in response to a superscript. For example;

Throughout the first half of the novel, the writer explains the story of a poor girl. A stranded girl in Europe who has nothing to lose.1

The superscript on the word “lose” tells the reader more information about this line is at the bottom of the page. At the bottom, the corresponding reference of this line will be cited as follow:

Henry James, The Ambassadors (Rockville: Serenity, 2009), 34-40.

Use a shorter version when you need to cite the source more than once in the footnote. Look below for an example;

James, The Ambassadors, 14.

This is how you will create a bibliography and footnotes with only one author. You have to provide a footnote each time you cite a source in Chicago style. The  reference entry is given at the end of the document in the bibliographic section.

Publication with more than one author

Most of the time, research papers have more than one author. It means that two or more people have worked on the same project. Thus, the paper includes the names of both authors. The real question is how would you cite them correctly in Chicago style in both bibliographic and footnote sections. The structure, along with examples, is discussed below:


In the case of sources with more than one author, only the author’s first name follows the inverted pattern. The names of all the other authors will be in normal order. The basic structure is the same, like last name followed by first name. For example;

“Gmuca, Natalia V.”, Linnea E. Pearson, Jennifer M. Burns, and Heather E.M. Liwanag. “The Fat and the Furriest: Morphological Changes in Harp Seal Fur with Ontogeny.” Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 88, no. 2 (March/April 2015): 158–66.


In the footnotes, the style will be the same as a bibliography. For example;

In the scorching summer heats, he swam across the river twice a day.1

Now, if you have taken this line from a paper whose authors are two or three, the footnote will be something like this.

  1. “Alexander, Aciman.” and Emmett, Rensin. Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less(New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 47-48.

Use the shortened form when using a source more than once. Just write the authors’ last name and book’s name in such cases.

Publication with more than four authors

Encountering research papers with more than four authors is not astonishing at all. Many researchers work on a shared project for an extensive period of time. When the research comes out, the names of all the authors are listed. If you use this kind of source in your dissertation, how would you cite it in bibliography and footnotes in Chicago style? An explanation to this, along with examples, is as follows:


If the number of authors are between 4 and 10, the bibliographic structure remains the same. In the case of the authors being more than 10, the style changes. You have to write the names of the first seven authors followed by an et al. The names will be written in the same style, e.g., first author’s name in inverted commas. The names of the remaining authors will come as usual.


The case of footnotes is different from the bibliography. The footnote will include only the first author’s name followed by “et al.”.The names of all the authors will come in the bibliographic section. For example,

Karen White et al., The Forgotten Room (New York: Berkley, 2016), 33-38.


Creating a first bibliography and footnote will become easier for you after reading this guide. The real-time examples make it more practical. You can also look for other examples on the internet.