Turabian Style Guide: An Overview

11 12 2012

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (published by the University of Chicago Press and often referred to simply asTurabian), is a style guide for writing and formatting research papers (such as the arrangement and punctuation of footnotes and bibliographies). The style described in this book is commonly known as Turabian style, after the book’s original author, Kate L. Turabian.

The 7th edition, published on April 15, 2007 (U.S.) and May 10, 2007 (UK), “has undergone its most extensive revision to reflect the recommendations of the fifteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style and to present an expanded array of source types and updated examples, including guidance on citing electronic sources”.

According to the publisher, prior to this edition, Turabian’s Manual “sold more than seven million copies since it was first published in 1937.

The seventh edition of Turabian’s Manual was revised by Wayne C. BoothGregory Colomb and Joseph M. Williams—authors of The Craft of Research—and the University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. The contributors “preserve Turabian’s clear and practical advice while fully embracing the new modes of research, writing, and source citation brought about by the age of the Internet.

Except for a few minor differences, Turabian style is the same as The Chicago Manual of Style. However, while The Chicago Manual of Style focuses on providing guidelines for publishing in general, Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations focuses on providing guidelines for student papers, theses and dissertations.

In some aspects (sometimes only minor punctuation details), however, Turabian differs from the styles that are developed and published in style guides by professional scholarly organizations, such as MLA style and APA style.

The most recent version of Turabian (7th ed.), like MLA style and APA style, and also like the most recent edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style), enables use of footnotes and/or endnotes in combination with parenthetical referencing; for comparison, see, for example, MLA style “content notes”. According to the description of the 7th edition, Turabian’s Manual “presents two basic documentation systems, notes-bibliography style (or simply bibliography style) and parenthetical citations–reference list style (or reference list style). These styles are essentially the same as those presented in The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, with slight modifications for the needs of student writers.

Turban’s key contrast with the APA style is that it was developed specifically for the purpose of being used in papers written for a class and not for publication, whereas APA was originally developed by the American Psychological Association for use in writing intended for publication in professional journals, although college writing course textbooks (e.g., those published by Bedford-St. Martin’s) present APA style as the documentation style to use for student research papers in the social sciences and related fields.

Whereas the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is directed to high-school and college and university undergraduate students (and their teachers), and the MLA Style Manual is directed to more advanced graduate students, scholars and professional writers, Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is directed to both levels of students who are writing graduate-level (M.A. and Ph.D.) theses and dissertations as well as undergraduate research papers.

Some academic journals in musicologyhistoryart historywomen’s studies and theology require use of Chicago style or the Turabian style for published articles in them. After articles are submitted for consideration (which may require another set of style guidelines at that time, usually the prevailing format of the discipline [MLA or APA]), the journals generally send their specific publishing house style sheets for authors to follow in preparing the accepted articles for final publication, indicating what published style guide is to be followed.

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