Skip to Main Content

Chicago - Referencing Guide

Citation Methods

Citation Methods

There are four common methods of referring to a source document in the text of an essay, thesis or assignment. These methods are direct quotation from another source, paraphasing or summarising material, and citing the whole of a source document. In academic writing, most of your essay or assignment should be phrased in your own words and the overuse of direct quotation should be avoided.


Short quotes

Quotations match a small section of the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author and enclosed within quotation marks. When quoting, the relevant page number(s) must be given:

Larsen (1991, 245) stated that "many of the facts in this case are incorrect".

If information is left out, three dots ... must be used to show where the missing information goes:

As Ballard and Clanchy (1988, 14) have argued, "Learning within the university is a process of gradual socialization into a distinctive culture of knowledge, and … literacy must be seen in terms of the functions to which language is put in that culture".

Longer quotes

In general, avoid using too many long quotes and remember to introduce or integrate quotations smoothly into the rest of your assignment.

You may choose to indent a larger block of quoted text. Such blocks of quoted texts usually consist of more than one paragraph or more than 100 words.

Blocks of quoted text should be indented from the left margin only, single spaced and may be one point smaller than the standard font size:

Wider applications are increasingly being found for many drugs such as invermectin. For example, Crump (2006, 53) confirms that:

Ivermectin - already used extensively in animal health and in eliminating onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis, two of the most disfiguring and deleterious human diseases - is now being used commercially for the treatment of strongyloidiasis, mites and scabies.

Quotations within quotations

Use a single quotation mark to indicate previously quoted material within your quotation.

Short Quotation:

She stated, "The 'placebo effect' ... disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner" (Miele 1993, 276), but she did not clarify which behaviors were studied.


Miele (1993) found that "the 'placebo effect', which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner" (276).

Longer Quotation:

Miele (1993) found the following:

The "placebo effect", which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner. Furthermore, the behaviours were never exhibited again, even when reel [sic] drugs were administered. Earlier studies (eg. Abdullah, 1984; Fox, 1979) were clearly premature in attributing the results to a placebo effect (276).

Note: Because the original source (Miele, 1999) used quotation marks around the term "placebo effect", this phrase will be given single quotation marks within a short quotation which is marked by double quotation marks. For block quotes, however, the passage is reproduced as in the original, including misspelling, such as "reel". the use of sic indicates to the reader that this is exactly what the author wrote and that you are not misquoting.

Paraphrasing and Summarising

Both paraphrasing and summarising involve putting information from source material into your own words.

When paraphrasing, do not add your own opinion or use the original wording. The purpose of paraphrasing is to express the ideas of others in your own words or phrasing so that it flows better with your own writing. You generally need to change both the sentence structure and the expression, using synonyms or alternative expressions. Paraphrased material may be shorter than the original passage, taking a larger section of the source and condensing it slightly. When paraphrasing, you must cite the original source. Page numbers should be given, in order to assist in locating the relevant passages within the source material, unless you are referring to the ideas of a whole work in general (see example below).

Summarising also involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material. Once again, it is necessary to cite the original source. Page numbers should be given when summarising.

The following are examples of how to appropriately paraphrase and summarise to avoid plagiarism:

Original - "Named for James Brady, the White House press secretary who was shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. during the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in March 1981, the Brady Bill establishes a national waiting period and background check for the purchase of a handgun" (Bender 1995, 137).

Paraphrase - Bender (1995) explains that the introduction of a waiting period and a background check for people buying handguns in the US, is due to the Brady Bill. The bill was named after White House aide James Brady, who was wounded during an assassination attempt on President Reagan (137).

Original - "At a typical football match we are likely to see players committing deliberate fouls, often behind the referee's back. They might try to take a throw-in or a free kick from an incorrect but more advantageous positions in defiance of the clearly stated rules of the game. They sometimes challenge the rulings of the referee or linesmen in an offensive way which often deserves exemplary punishment or even sending off. No wonder spectators fight amongst themselves, damage stadiums, or take the law into their own hands by invading the pitch in the hope of affecting the outcome of the match" (Mantex 1999, 1-2).

Summary - Unsportsmanlike behaviour by footballers may inspire hooliganism among spectators (Mantex 1999, 1-2).

In this example, a longer paragraph of approximately 100 words is reduced to a short sentence of nine words.

Citing the whole of a document

Sometimes it may be necessary to give a general reference to the whole of a source document. This method of referencing is used least often:

Sternberg (2006) explores the basics of cognitive psychology through its coverage of cognitive neuroscience, attention and consciousness, perception, memory, knowledge representation, language, problem solving and creativity, decision making and reasoning, cognitive development, and intelligence.