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Jan 24, 2018

Turabian General Formatting

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Formatting the Basics | Writing the Main Body | Formatting Citations and Bibliographies

If you are a School of Divinity student, the School of Divinity Turabian Guide may also be helpful to you. 

Formatting the Basics

Always check the requirements and preferences of your professor, department, and institution. They may have particular preferences for how a paper should be formatted.


  • Usually margins are 1 inch on all sides, but the rule of thumb is no less than 1 inch and no more than 1.5 inches.
  • Our sample paper uses 1 inch margins.

Font and Typeface

  • The preferred font and size is Times New Roman with 12 pt. font.
  • The Turabian manual requires that font be readable and no smaller than 10 pt. font.


Page Numbers

  • You can use our Pagination Tutorial for Turabian to help format your paper.
  • Page numbers should begin on the first page of the paper's text, not on the title page.
  • Page numbers are most often placed in the top right of the page header or the bottom center of the footer.
    • Our sample paper puts the page numbers in the bottom center.
    • Note: The table of contents (if a paper has one) should have its own page numbers in Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, ix, etc.).

Title Page

  • Because the title page requirements may vary, we have a separate page, with visuals, for formatting a title page as either the typical title page for an undergrad paper or the typical title page for a dissertation/thesis.

Table of Contents

  • The table of contents should be structured around the main headings and subheadings of the paper.
    • If it is long enough, a paper may require chapters with subdivisions.
    • Note: A table of contents usually has what’s called “Dot-Leader Tabs,” or a series of periods between the content title and its page number (Content Title………………...1).

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Writing the Main Body

This will present some basics about writing the body of your paper.

Voice and Writing Style

  • The paper should be written in the 3rd (he, she, it) person with an active voice. 
  • Unless a professor specifically asks for a paper in 1st (I, we) or 2nd (you) person language, avoid these in a paper.

Headings and Subheadings

  • It can be helpful to divide the paper into logical pieces, almost like “mini-papers” within the larger paper.
  • We have a separate page with visuals dedicated to understanding and formatting headings.

Incorporating Research and Quotations

  • Incorporating research that is credible and relevant helps to support and validate a paper's argument. 
  • Remember, with plagiarism, it’s better to be safe than sorry: if it’s not yours, cite it!
    • Our page dedicated to incorporating research and avoiding plagiarism includes information on how to integrate summaries and paraphrases, quotations and block quotes, and more.

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Formatting Citations and a Bibliography

This will introduce the two styles used for citing sources and research within your paper.

Notes-Bibliography Citation Style

Used For

Citation Format

  • Footnotes or endnotes are the preferred methods to indicate in-text citations throughout the paper.
  • Bibliography is the preferred method for compiling sources in one list at the end of the paper. 
  • We can help create footnotes or endnotes or create a bibliography.

Search for Citations

 Cite books, cite journals, cite multimedia, or cite miscellaneous sources.


Author-Date citation style

Used For

Citation Format

  • Parenthetical citations are the preferred method to indicate in-text citations throughout the paper.
  • Reference list is the preferred method for compiling sources in one list at the end of the paper.
  • We can help create parenthetical citations or create a reference list.

Search for Citations

Cite bookscite journalscite multimedia, or cite miscellaneous sources.


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Material on this page adapted from Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. In manual, see 7.4, 7.6, 7.9, 11.1-11.5, 15.1-15.4, 16.1, 18.1, A.1, A.2.