Works Cited / Bibliography

WR3 | Workshops

Works Cited or Bibliography

Accurately documenting sources is a vital aspect of any process of inquiry. If you fail to properly document your sources, your readers will be unable to follow your research, validate your claims, or judge the quality of your argument. Furthermore, failing to properly cite a source (whether summarized, paraphrased, or quoted) opens you to the charge of plagiarism, a serious academic offense.

Scholars avoid plagiarism and give credit to the thinking and writing of others using a variety of citation formats, or “styles.” As you work to complete your degree in college you will encounter a number of these citation formats. In fact, each discipline has a preferred style. The humanities use MLA, psychology uses APA, history and other social sciences use Chicago. There are many others. As you begin to specialize in a particular field of study, you will be expected to use the citation style of your discipline.

Although citation formats differ significantly, they all have two primary components: in-text citations and a bibliography. As the name suggests, in-text citations are used to reference the work of others within the text itself; the bibliography contains an ordered list of all the in-text citations contained within a piece of writing.

Most students have constructed an MLA Works Cited page before they arrive at college. This assignment is designed to help you learn the Chicago style bibliography by taking advantage of your familiarity with the MLA style.


MLA to Chicago style translation

Take a few moments to scan though this student essay in the Chicago style.1 Familiarize yourself with the essay’s construction, noting especially how it differs from the MLA style essay. The following questions will help you notice some key features of the Chicago style:

  • How is the title page formatted compared to MLA?

  • Is there anything odd about the page numbering scheme?

  • Examine the in-text citations. How are they inserted?

  • How is the block quote handled differently in Chicago compared to MLA?

  • What is the relationship between the following entries on the Notes page: 3 and 11? 9 and 10? 3 and 4?

The Open Handbook has detailed information on formatting of both the MLA and Chicago bibliography to guide you.


Your assignment is to “translate” this student essay from the MLA style into the Chicago style. Convert the document’s formatting, page numbering, in-text citations, bibliographical entries, etc.2

To begin, download the essay to your own computer. Before you make any alterations, it might be wise to write out a detailed list of things that must be translated. The list of questions above may be of great assistance to you. You may need to consult the Open Handbook to come up with your plan of action.

  • You will find it difficult to force Microsoft Word into submission and make it do your bidding for the page numbering and the endnotes. While I don’t personally use Word, Microsoft provides some advice about page numbering on their support site. Or you can download this template I ripped off from another university:

  • You will also have problems if you attempt to use the automated numbered endnotes that Word creates at the end of your document. Namely, you will not be able to force Word to use the proper spacing and indentation required by the Chicago style. Therefore, I suggest that you type up a separate Notes page, bypassing Word’s “helpful” feature.

  • As you construct your Notes page you must determine what type of source is being cited in the MLA paper. Is this a book by one author? A scholarly journal? A work in an anthology? Something else? Once you identify the type of source being referenced in the MLA paper, you can use the Open Handbook chapter on the Chicago Style to figure out how to present this type of source in the Chicago style’s note form.


  1. This student essay uses section headings to organize the essay. This is a personal choice, not a strict element of the Chicago style. ↩︎

  2. You are not required to make a Bibliography page, just a Notes page for this assignment. ↩︎