Turabian or Chicago? What’s the difference?

Have you ever wondered why Turabian and Chicago style look similar?  Has anyone ever told you that the styles are the same thing, or that they are vastly different?  Have you ever heard that Chicago itself has variations?  Hopefully this blog post can clear things up for you.

Turabian vs. Chicago

Turabian and Chicago style look similar because they are the same thing. Yep.  After the release of the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, they officially became the same thing.  The Turabian style was created by Kate Turabian (1893-1987), a University of Chicago graduate school dissertation secretary that created a guide for the Chicago style of citation called the Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.  Academics found her guide so authoritative that they effectively named her method of citation presentation as “Turabian”.  To learn more about the history of Turabian style, read this University of Chicago webpage. So if a teacher insists that you use Turabian instead of Chicago in your next paper, just give them a wink, write a great paper, and use our reference guide or automatic citation generator for Chicago style.  Just make sure you’re using the correct system of Chicago style.

There are two systems of Chicago Style?

Indeed.  The Chicago Manual of Style contains two documentation systems: notes and bibliography and author-date.  Depending on the subject matter and nature of sources cited, each style is preferred by various specific groups of scholars within academia.

The notes and bibliography style is most commonly used in literature, art, and history, as well as other fields within the humanities.  It can accommodate a plethora of sources: both common and also more obscure sources that may not be ideal for the author-date system.

The author-date system is used frequently within the natural, physical, and social sciences.  This system provides brief, non intrusive source citing within the text, by the last name of the author and date of publication.  These bibliographic form of these citations can be viewed more clearly within the list of references included at the end of author date system formatted essays.

There are only small differences between these two types of Chicago style citations, but it is important that you know which one to use within your discipline.  Happy writing!