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Turabian Format Quick Guide

Note to students using Grammarly: See this resource on Grammarly’s Place in the Writing Process (pdf)

Have a formatting question?

Online Students

See a list of all services available to online students at www.liberty.edu/onlinewritingcenter

Residential Students

See a list of all services available to residential students at www.liberty.edu/writing


Sample Paper in notes-bibliography for all students (pdf)

Turabian Template (dotm) for assignments with NO headings (NOTE: do not add quotation marks around the titles of your papers; all macro-enabled fields in the template have those marks to denote the macros; just click each field and type your content)

Turabian Template (dotm) for assignments WITH headings (NOTE: do not add quotation marks around the titles of your papers; all macro-enabled fields in the template have those marks to denote the macros; just click each field and type your content)

Dissertation-style title page with basic Dissertation Template (dotm)

Visit the Chicago Manual of Style database in Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell Library by logging in and choosing that database (search for database by name, then “C,” and “Chicago Manual of Style”).

Discussion Board Posts

A discussion board is designed to mimic a real-time discussion between you and your classmates (and sometimes professors), so it should be fairly formal (i.e., proper citations and academic tone), but most can be slightly informal in the sense that if you wanted to refer to something a classmate said, you’d just write something like “As Christy wrote in her initial thread, xyz” or “I appreciate how Mike clarified xyz in his response to Marsha.” 

Be sure to check with your professor for his or her expectations if you are required to cite your classmates’ content. 

Below is a basic template.  Remember to include footnote citations to credit your scholarly sources, along with a corresponding bibliography list.  Prepare your thread in MS Word and save that file, then use Control-A to select all content, Control-C to copy all content, and Control-V in Canvas to paste your content.)

Discussion Board basic template (dotm)

Page Formatting

  • Use one-inch margins on all sides.
  • The preferred font/size is Times New Roman, 12 pt.
  • Indent all paragraphs in the body of the paper ½”.
  • Double-space the entire paper, except block quotes, footnotes, bibliography entries, reference lists, table titles, and figure captions.  Those elements should be single-spaced, with one extra blank line before/after to separate them from other elements.


  • The paper should be written in the 3rd person (he, she, it) with an active voice, rather than passive voice (pdf).
  • Unless a professor specifically asks for a paper in 1st person (I, me, we, us, our) or 2nd person (you, your) language, avoid these in a paper.
  • Be specific and concise.
  • In historical writing, use simple past tense verbs.  When referring to an author’s written work, use the present tense.
  •  Note that Turabian requires additional spacing before each heading level, which is already programmed into the templates.
  • Headline case = all significant words, usually those with 4+ letters, must be capitalized. Use headline case for titles of works; names of journals; and first-, second-, and third-level headings.
  • Sentence case = only the first letter of the first word, proper nouns, and the word following a colon, if any, should begin with capital letters. Use sentence case for fourth- and fifth-level headings.
  • Add quotation marks around the titles of shorter works (i.e., articles or poems); use italics for the names of larger works (i.e., books or plays).

Title Page

  • Liberty University now uses Turabian’s “student” title page format for all programs and levels of study except dissertations and theses, which follow Turabian’s “dissertation” title page format.
  • See the links to all templates and sample papers above.


  • The title page is technically page one, but it never has a page number
  • Pagination for the fore matter, if any (including the table of contents), uses lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii), in the center bottom of the page. Begin with ii, to account for the title page position.
  • The body of the paper for all Liberty University classes uses Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3) in the top-right corner. It begins with page 1.  All templates provided by Liberty University are already programmed with proper pagination.
  • See the pagination video tutorial.

Main Body

  • The word Introduction is no longer included in student papers unless the instructions specifically require such.
  • The first paragraph in the body of academic papers should include an introductory paragraph (with no label, title, or heading above it).
  •  Incorporating research that is credible and relevant helps to support and validate a paper’s argument.  The page dedicated to incorporating research and avoiding plagiarism includes information on how to integrate summaries and paraphrases, quotations, and block quotes.
  • With plagiarism, it’s better to be safe than sorry: if it’s not yours, cite it!


  • Turabian uses up to five heading and subheading levels. Though Turabian provides significant flexibility in formatting, all departments across Liberty University have universally adopted the following formats (see heading levels and table of contents video tutorial):
  • First level: centered, boldface, in headline case
  • Second level: centered, not bolded, in headline case
  • Third level: left-justified, boldface, in headline case
  • Fourth level: left-justified, not bolded, in sentence case
  • Fifth level: indented ½”, not bolded, italicized, in sentence case with a period, then one space, and begin your content on the same line


Footnotes versus Parenthetical Citations

  • Include a citation whenever another author’s work is directly quoted or paraphrased.
  • There are two formats in Turabian: author-date and notes-bibliography.  Liberty University allows only notes-bibliography format, except for book reviews (which use author-date format).
  • In notes-bibliography, include relevant publishing details along with the author’s name and year of publication as footnotes.
  • All programs of study at Liberty University still require the use of ibid. for consecutive footnotes of the same resource on the same page in notes-bibliography format, and shortened notes for non-consecutive subsequent citations, even though the Turabian 9th edition manual recommends not using ibid.
  • See the Turabian Chart of Citations (pdf) for visuals of the citations and reference entries in notes-bibliography format.  The section of this Quick Guide on author-date format (permitted at Liberty University only for book reviews) includes a link to a chart of citations in that format.

Notes-Bibliography Citation Style

  • Used in all programs of study using Turabian format (except book reviews, which use Author-Date format). 
  • Footnotes are the preferred method to indicate in-text citations throughout this format. Liberty University does not permit endnotes.
  • A bibliography is used to compile sources in one list at the end of the paper.

Author-Date citation style


  • The Bible is only cited parenthetically at Liberty University, effective Summer of 2022. The phrase “unless otherwise noted” (used in years past) is no longer used at Liberty University.
  • It is not necessary to write out full quotes of verses from the Bible since your readers can find the references that you cite. When an author needs to make a specific observation, however, he or she will include a direct quote.
  • When your paper cites from only one translation, you only name the version with the first citation in your paper.  If you use multiple translations or versions of the Bible, then you would have to spell out the version used the first time you use each, and then use a series of abbreviations for subsequent citations in parentheses (NASB, ESV, KJV) sufficient for your reader to discern which version you are citing from in subsequent citations.
  • The abbreviations for the books of the Bible can be used only in parentheses within the text or in footnotes. For example, you may make a reference to Romans 1:16, but if you state that Christians should not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16), then you should use the abbreviation within parentheses.
  • Turabian includes a comprehensive list of abbreviations for the books of the Bible in sections 24.6.1-24.6.4 (sections 10.44, 10.45, 10.47, and 10.48 in the Chicago Manual of Style database on Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell Library). See the Sacred Book Reference List (pdf) and Capitalization Glossary (pdf).


  • Use the word Bibliography for notes-bibliography format.
  • Center and bold the word “Bibliography” (without quotation marks) on the top line of a new page following your conclusion.
  • Single-space entries, with one blank line separating each.
  • Use hanging indents (left-justify the first line of each entry and indent lines two+ of each entry ½” from the left margin).
  • Alphabetize all entries by the first word in each (usually the first author’s last name for each).
  • Invert the first author’s name (last name, first, middle), but not the remaining authors’ names in each entry.
  • Cite classical works (including the Bible) and personal communications in the body of the paper, but do not include them in the reference or bibliography list.
  • Include periods after both URLs and DOIs.
  • Check Google Scholar or crossref.org for DOIs of all articles published since 2007, if one is not readily denoted on the article itself.
  • Only include the access date for online content that is likely to change (such as wikis).

Material on this page adapted from Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th ed.

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