28th April 2023
Quotations and Block Quotes in Chicago Referencing
When writing an academic paper, you may need to quote something you’ve read somewhere. But how to do this depends on the referencing system being used, so it pays to do some research. In this blog post, we’re looking at how quotations work in Chicago referencing, also known as the Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition.
Quoting vs. Paraphrasing
When citing a source, you can either:
- Use a direct quotation
- Paraphrase what you’ve read
Direct quotation involves using the exact words written in the source you’re citing. To do this, you should place the quoted text inside double quotation marks (i.e., “ ”). It’s a good idea to quote a source directly if your argument depends on the exact wording of what you’re quoting.
If you don’t want to quote a source directly, you can paraphrase it instead. This means explaining what you’ve read in your own words. However, you still need to cite a source when paraphrasing, and you should be careful not to accidentally copy the original author’s wording.
Footnotes or In-Text Citations?
Chicago referencing offers two ways of citing sources, so the rules depend on the version you use. With the footnote and bibliography system, you indicate citations using superscript numbers after the quoted text:
Mitchell investigates “possible causal pathways connecting genetic replicators and social behaviors.”1
The first time you cite a source, you need to give full source information in the footnote (including page numbers for the section quoted).
With the author-date version of Chicago referencing, you cite sources in the main text of your paper. When quoting, this means giving the author’s surname, year of publication, and relevant page numbers in brackets:
It is important to investigate “possible causal pathways connecting genetic replicators and social behaviors” (Mitchell 1996, 132).
If you name the author in the text, however, you should give the citation immediately afterward:
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Mitchell (1996, 132) investigates “possible causal pathways connecting genetic replicators and social behaviors.”
You then give full bibliographic information for all cited sources in the reference list.
Longer quotations are formatted differently in Chicago referencing. These “block quotes” should be:
- Prose quotations of five or more lines
- Not enclosed in quotation marks
- Preceded and followed by a blank line
- Indented .5” from the left margin
The rules for citing a block quote are the same as when quoting a source elsewhere in your text. As such, a Chicago-style block quote using footnote citations would look something like this:
Discussing genetics and behavior, Mitchell writes that:
In order to evaluate the legitimacy of such explanations it is, thus, necessary to explicate the variety of possible causal pathways connecting genetic replicators and social behaviors. If phenotypic variation is the direct object of natural selection, one must understand the underlying relationship between the phenotypic expression and genetic replicators to argue that any such phenotypic trait is, or can be, an adaptation.1
This suggests the relationship between genetics and behavior in animals is….
The full citation for the source would then be given in a footnote at the bottom of the page.
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