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Chicago Format & Citation Style: Notes and Bibliography, 17th Edition

Why Cite?

"Your first duty as a researcher is to get the facts right. Your second duty is to tell readers where the facts came from."

The purpose of any citation method is the same: 

  • to give credit and appropriately attribute the work of others
  • to assure readers about the accuracy of your facts
  • to show readers the research that informs your work
  • to help readers follow or extend your work

From: Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th ed. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2018), 139-40.

When to Cite

Whenever you quote, summarize, or paraphrase another author's work or research, you MUST include a citation that tells the reader what information you have borrowed and from where. On a more practical note, attributing, borrowing, and citing sources correctly is the easiest way to avoid plagiarism charges. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. It is defined in the 'Code of Student Conduct' within the UWF Student Handbook as "the act of representing the ideas, words, creations or work of another as one's own." The document further explains that "plagiarism combines theft with fraud."

Simply stated, plagiarism is stealing another person's intellectual property or using someone else's work without giving him or her appropriate credit.

Do I have to cite EVERYTHING?

You do not have to cite common knowledge or your original ideas.

What is common knowledge?

Common knowledge consists of facts and sayings that are well known by a large number of people or information that is included in multiple sources.

A well-known fact does not need a citation:

  • Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
  • The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Interpretations or new research does need a citation:

  • According to the American Family Leave Coalition's new book, Family Issues and Congress, President Bush's relationship with Congress has hindered family leave legislation.6
  • Election statistics from the Center for Voting and Democracy show that more African-Americans voted in the 2004 election than the 2000 election.10

Direct Quotations

Directly quoting a work is taking the exact words from a source and putting it into your own paper. Quotations should be used sparingly and are usually used in conjunction with paraphrasing and summarizing. Use quotations only when the exact words of what an author is saying is particularly significant to your point.

Block Quotations

For particularly long quotations of more than a hundred words (usually 6 to 8 lines of text in a typical manuscript), you should use a block quotation. Block quotations, which are not enclosed in quotation marks, always start a new line.  They are further distinguished from the surrounding text by being indented or set in smaller font.

See Chicago Manual - section 13.9


Paraphrasing is rewriting an author's work into your own words. Paraphrasing is useful because it allows you to condense ideas into shorter passages and to highlight similarities and differences between someone else's work and your own while retaining the tone of your own writing.

Keep in mind that although the information is in your own words, it is still the original author's work and ideas. You have merely rephrased them. Therefore, you must still cite the source.

See p. 708 (13.4) in Chicago for more information.

Now, what do I cite again?


Shapiro Library, Southern New Hampshire University