Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

Creating a Chicago/Turabian Style Reference List


If you used the author-date Chicago/Turabian style while creating your paper instead of the notes-biblio style, you will need to create a reference list rather than a bibliography. The reference list is basically the same as the bibliography; however, you’ll title the page References and you do not need to include all the sources you consulted. You do need to include all the sources that you cited in your paper.

Student Creating a Chicago/Turabian Style Reference List

Another difference between the Chicago/Turabian style bibliography and reference list is that you may divide the bibliography into sections first before alphabetizing the entries. The reference list is not sectioned out and is an alphabetical list of your entries.

If you want to, you may include consulted works, but it’s not necessary.

What You Can Omit

If you’re creating a reference list based on the Chicago/Turabian author-date style, you may omit certain sources that are commonly known (dictionaries) or sources such as social media posts.

If you feel an item is important to establishing your research results or if you cite it a lot, you may include it. However, that is your choice. Here is a list of sources you may chose to leave out of your reference list:

  • Classical, medieval, and early English literary works.
  • The Bible.
  • Well-known reference works, major dictionaries and encyclopedias like World Book.
  • Some visual and performing arts sources including painting, sculptures or live performances.
  • Public documents like the Bill of Rights or the US Constitution.
  • Social media posts, online forums, mailing lists, anonymous unpublished interviews and personal communications.

Always follow your instructor’s guidance while preparing your reference list.

Organizing your Reference List

Since you’re using the author-date Chicago/Turabian style, you will center the title References on the last page. Do not bold, underline or italicize the title.

  • References, centered title.
  • Double-space after the title, then begin your entries.
  • Use the hanging indent for each entry.
  • Space one line between entries.

Alphabetize by the letter by letter method and then by date of publication unless your instructor asks you to use the word by word method.

The 3-em Dash System

Although the Turabian system suggests using the 3-em dash system to account for multiple authors, the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) 17th edition recommends that authors do not use them.

Why is this, you may ask?

Creating papers electronically can cause formatting issues for content management systems used by online journals and some publishers prefer you spell the author names in full. Again, it will be up to your instructor as to whether s/he wishes you to use the 3- em dash or to spell the authors’ names in full. If your paper is being published, always follow the publisher’s requirements.

Using the 3-em Dash

If you have multiple entries by the same author, use the publication date to organize these entries but rather than entering the same name over and over, simply use a long dash (3-em dash) in place of the author’s name.

TIP A 3-em dash is created by entering the em dash three times or six hyphens. The em dash can be found in the symbol drop down menu in Word or you can press CTRL + ALT + minus key on the numeric keypad. If you’re using the proper font – Times New Roman 12, the three dashes will form a solid line.

Tarn, William. 1930.  Hellenistic Military and Naval Developments. Chicago: Ares Press.

———. 1948. Alexander the Great: Sources and Studies. Cambridge: Oxford University Press.

———. 1951. Alexander the Great: Narrative. Cambridge: Oxford University Press.

Multiple Authors

If you have works written by multiple authors who are listed in the same order, you may use the 3-em dash. But if those authors are listed in a different order, spell out the authors’ names in full and use the same order as listed in the work.

Savil, Agnes, and Richard Stoneman. 1993. Alexander the Great and His Time. New York: Barnes & Noble.

———. 1997. Alexander the Great. London: Routledge.

TIP: If you can’t figure out which is the first and last name, look up the author in a biographical dictionary or online to see how her/his name is listed.

No Author

If there is no author, editor or translator listed, alphabetize by the title. Ignore articles such as A, An or The.

In-Text Citations

As a final check, make sure your in-text citations match up to your reference list entries. Check page numbers and publication dates.

It is a lot of work to prepare reference lists and bibliographies but as you become used to the system and follow the examples, it will soon become second nature to you. You’ll also realize how important it is to prepare your sources as you research and write your paper so you’re not scrambling at the last minute to gather your bibliographic sources together.

Understanding Chicago Notes-Biblio vs Author-Date Style

Chicago/Turabian Author-Date Citation Elements

About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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