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Religious Studies Library Guide: Chicago author-date Referencing and RefWorks

Religious Studies Library Guide

Chicago author-date Referencing and RefWorks

The Chicago author-date style is favoured by the Religious Studies department at UCT.

Chicago author-date

It is essential to realise that Chicago offers a choice between two stylesThe Notes and Bibliography, aka Footnote style, a number in the text, accompanied by a footnote or an endnote with the reference, and Author-Date Style, like Harvard, with the author and date cited in brackets in the text, leading to the full reference in the Reference List at the end.

The in text punctuation is different from Harvard, with no comma between the author name and the date, but with a comma followed by page numbers where needed.

Be sure to click on the author-date option on this web, page, which defaults to the footnote style otherwise.

The page numbers fetish in Chicago

Another very good guide to the Chicago author date system is available from Trinity:

With regard to page numbers in the parenthetical in-text reference it simply states that “Page numbers should be included whenever possible.”

Another, rather useful tip on ranges of page numbers can be found in this guide:

This guide notes with regard to page numbers, the use of ranges,

Page Number Ranges: For all numbers less than 100, use all digits (Ex. 3-10; 71-71; 96-117). For 100 or multiples of 100, use all digits (Ex. 100-104; 1100-1113). For numbers 101-109/ 201-209, use the changed part of the number only (Ex. 101-8; 808-33). For numbers 110-199, 210-299, use two digits unless more are needed to include all changed parts (Ex. 321-28; 498-532; 11564-615). (9.60)

 Interestingly, there does seem to be a tendency not only to cite page numbers when quoting, but also giving relevant indications of pages in support of the ideas of substance, even if paraphrased or explained in your own words.

The manual itself notes in point 15.7 on page 789 that “In text citations, where reference is usually to a particular passage in a book or journal, only the page number (s) pertaining to that passage are given. In reference lists, no page numbers are given for books; for easier location of journal articles or chapters or other sections of a book, the beginning and ending page numbers of the entire article or chapter are given.”

Point 15.5 on page 787 refers to the in text citation of “a page number if needed.”

The judgement of what is needed is at issue here – and I would be interested to know the preferences of the Department in this regard – though my own impulse, to play safe, might be to follow the Trinity advice that “Page numbers should be included whenever possible.”

The online guides are handy, but it is important to stress that The Chicago Manual of Style itself has many more examples, and a lot more detail, in such matters as:

“The 3-EM Dash for Repeated Names in a Reference List” on pg 794 of the 16th ed. “….a 3-em dash replaces the name(s) after the first appearance. The entries area arranged chronologically by year of publication in ascending order, not alphabetized by title….Undated works designated n.d. or forthcoming follow all dated works….” and, on page 800 additional works by the same author in text (cited by date only, separated by commas except where page numbers are required, an example being (Whittaker 1967,1975; Wiens 1989a,1989b)

There is also a section beginning on page 800 on Special Cases, “…for which a suitable author-date form may not be apparent.” Anonymous works, of known or unknown authorship, pseudonymous works…..

Chicago is a very precise system, with a lot of formal rules – Nothing Beats Having a Copy of the Correct Edition Under Your Elbow When Checking or Compiling Your Referencing.

The author-date section, chapter 15 of the 16th edition, stretches from pages 785 to 810, and so is not too large a section. However, be aware that “Because this system is similar in many respects to the notes and bibliography system discussed in chapter 14, much of the information from that chapter is not repeated here” according to section 15.1 on page 786.

You would do well to glance through sections 15.2 and 15.3 on that page as well, if using an example from chapter 14 as a model….


Alternatively, you can use  RefWorks to have your referencing magically done for you.

The University of Cape Town subscribes to RefWorks. You can open an account on it and store any references you find on our book catalogue or on our journal databases.

 Most of our journal databases allow you to save your references to RefWorks, you do not need to type them in by hand. You can also search our book catalogue from within RefWorks and download the book records to RefWorks.

You can then download a subset of RefWorks called Write-N-Cite, which will live on the desktop of the PC on which you write your papers.

 Write-N-Cite does what its name implies - it allows you to cite as you type, by selecting the references from your RefWorks database. You can then generate a bibliography for your paper at the touch of a button, in any of a range of citation styles.

RefWorks can be found under the RESEARCH HELP tab on the Library Home Page, or directly at

There are good help files and tutorials on the RefWorks site, and the library staff in the Knowledge Commons,(the library’s own computer lab) are very good at helping people to use RefWorks.

UCT staff and students can use RefWorks both on campus and off-campus (by logging in via EZProxy). RefWorks might ask you for a “group code” if you log in from off campus. Please call the Library Information Desk at 021 650 3703  for help with this.

 A worked example, together with a guide to the Chicago style can be downloaded from the tab below. 

Subject Guide

Ingrid Thomson's picture
Ingrid Thomson
Humanities Information Division
Chancellor Oppenheimer Library
University of Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 650 3133