How to cite a journal article in Chicago style

The Chicago Manual of Style provides guidelines for two different styles of citation: notes and bibliography and author-date style. A journal article citation looks different depending on which style you’re using.

Chicago journal citation: notes and bibliography style
Footnote/endnote1. Morris Dickstein, “A Literature of One’s Own: The Question of Jewish Book Awards.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 63, no. 1–2 (Winter 2002): 70–74.
Bibliography entryDickstein, Morris. “A Literature of One’s Own: The Question of Jewish Book Awards.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 63, no. 1–2 (Winter 2002): 70–74.
Chicago journal citation: author-date style
In-text citation(Dickstein 2002)
Reference list entryDickstein, Morris. 2002. “A Literature of One’s Own: The Question of Jewish Book Awards.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 63, no. 1–2 (Winter): 70–74.

Basic format of a Chicago journal citation

A journal article citation always contains similar information. The article title appears in quotation marks, while the name of the journal is in italics. If the journal’s name begins with “The,” this word should be omitted.

The exact format of the citation depends on which style of Chicago citation you’re using.

Notes and bibliography

A citation for a journal article follows this format in a full and short note:

1. Author First Name Last Name, “Article Title,” Journal Name volume, issue (Date): page number(s).
2. Author Last Name, “Shortened Article Title,” page number(s).

A page number or range is only needed when you’re quoting or referring to a specific passage.

For the date, use the same level of detail used by the journal itself. This may be just the year, or it may include a season or month:

1. Sonja Jankov, “Scholarly Debts to Beckett’s Modernism,” Journal of Modern Literature 35, no. 4 (Summer 2012): 193.

The volume number appears after the journal name, while the issue number comes after a comma and is preceded by “no.”:

1. Sonja Jankov, “Scholarly Debts to Beckett’s Modernism,” Journal of Modern Literature 35, no. 4 (Summer 2012): 193

Titles of five or more words are shortened in short notes:

2. Jankov, “Beckett’s Modernism,” 193.

The format for a Chicago bibliography entry for a journal is as follows:

Author Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Journal Name volume, issue (Date): page range.

Note that in your bibliography entry, the page range is mandatory – it doesn’t identify a specific passage, but instead shows where the article is located within the journal issue:

Jankov, Sonja. “Scholarly Debts to Beckett’s Modernism.” Journal of Modern Literature 35, no. 4 (Summer 2012): 192–96.

Author-date style

In author-date style, an in-text citation consists of the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number or range if relevant:

(Jankov 2012, 193)

Each in-text citation must correspond to an entry in your reference list. This is almost identical to a bibliography entry, except the year comes after the author’s name, while only the season or month appears in brackets:

Jankov, Sonja. 2012. “Scholarly Debts to Beckett’s Modernism.” Journal of Modern Literature 35, no. 4 (Summer): 192–96.

Citing an online journal article

When citing an article that you consulted online, it’s important to include a link in your bibliography, reference list, or full note citation.

If available, use the DOI (digital object identifier). A DOI is a link which is designed to permanently and reliably link to the article in question, since URLs can stop working over time. A DOI is often listed with other citation information in the online database where the article was found:

Pickard, Hanna. “What Is Personality Disorder?” Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 18, no. 3 (September 2011): 181–84.

If there is no DOI, avoid just copying the URL from your browser’s address bar, as this link may only work with your login. Journals sometimes list a stable URL in place of a DOI; if so, use this in your citation:

Parascandola, John, and John Swann. “Development of Pharmacology in American Schools of Pharmacy.” Pharmacy in History 25, no. 3 (1983): 95–115.

Wherever possible, a DOI or URL should be used, but sometimes even the links recommended by the database will only work for subscribers or those with access to a certain library.

If no reliable link whatsoever is available, you can instead list the name of the database where you accessed the journal (e.g. JSTOR, Project MUSE):

Goldstone, Jack A. “Climate Lessons from History.” Historically Speaking 14, no. 5 (November 2013): 35–37. Project MUSE.

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Journal articles with multiple authors

Journal articles, especially in the sciences, frequently have multiple authors. Author names should be listed in the order they appear at the head of the article (not in alphabetical order).

In a note or in-text citation

For articles with two or three authors, list all of their names in your notes or in-text citations:

(Davis and Williams 2013)

1. Davis, Williams, and Matheson, “Example Article.”

For articles with four or more authors, use “et al.” after the first name:

(Zainunisha et al. 2015)

In a bibliography or reference list

In a bibliography or reference list, only the name of the first author is inverted; all subsequent names are written in the normal order. Here, up to 10 authors are listed:

Arieff, Zainunisha, Mandeep Kaur, Hajirah Gameeldien, Lize van der Merwe, and Vladimir B. Bajic. “5-HTTLPR Polymorphism: Analysis in South African Autistic Individuals.” Human Biology 82, no. 3 (2010): 291–300.

If an article has 11 or more authors, Chicago recommends listing the first seven followed by “et al.”

Frequently asked questions about Chicago style citations

When should I include page numbers in Chicago style citations?

Page numbers should be included in your Chicago in-text citations when:

  • You’re quoting from the text.
  • You’re paraphrasing a particular passage.
  • You’re referring to information from a specific section.

When you’re referring to the overall argument or general content of a source, it’s unnecessary to include page numbers.

When should I use “et al.” in Chicago citations?

When a source has four or more authors, your in-text citation or footnote should give only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” (Latin for “and others”). This makes your citations more concise.

In your bibliography or reference list, when a source has more than 10 authors, list the first seven followed by “et al.”

Should I use short notes or full notes?

If your text includes a Chicago style bibliography, you only ever need to use short notes. Each short note must correspond to a bibliography entry.

If you do not include a bibliography, your first citation of each source should be a full note, while all subsequent citations should be short notes.

What is the difference between footnotes and endnotes?

Footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page. Endnotes appear in a list at the end of the text, just before the bibliography.

Chicago note citations follow the exact same format whether they appear in footnotes or endnotes.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

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