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CMS Format: Using Source Material: Footnotes

CMS Format

CMS refers to a research format described in the Chicago Manual of Style. This format is often used for history, philosophy and religion papers; instructors in other disciplines may also prefer CMS format.


When you use any information drawn from a source in your paper, you need to insert a footnote identifying the source as follows:

  • For all quotations, paraphrases or summaries, insert a superscript number after the period; begin with 1 for the first note and assign a new number for every note thereafter
  • Insert a short line/rule at the bottom of the page between the text and the footnotes
  • Indent and single-space footnotes; double space between footnotes.
  • Begin each footnote with the number corresponding to the superscript; then provide complete source information, including page numbers:

Inductive reasoning is inherently weak because any conclusion reached through induction can be disproved by newly found evidence.1


          1. Loisa Nygaard, "Winning the Game: Inductive Reasoning in Poe's 'Murders in the Rue Morgue,'" Studies in Romanticism 33, no. 2 (1994): 242, accessed November 12, 2019, doi:10.2307/25601058.

For sources with two or three authors, include all authors’ names in the footnote:

          1. Peter Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton., Hawks in Flight: The Flight Identification of North American Raptors (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), 43.

For sources with four or more authors, use the name of the first author listed, followed by the abbreviation et al. (meaning “and others”):

          1. Edward Frongillo et al., "Family Care Behaviors and Early Childhood Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries," Journal of Child & Family Studies 26, no. 11 (November 2017): 3036, accessed June 2, 2020,

For unsigned sources, begin the note with the title.

For multiple citations of the same source:

  • To cite the work cited in the preceding footnote (provided both are on the same page), use the abbreviation Ibid.; add the page number if different: 

2. Ibid., 47.

  • To cite any other previously cited source, use the author's last name, a shortened form of the title, and the page number: 

2. Nygaard, "Winning the Game," 245.