Though both styles have similarities, Chicago style is different from the American Psychological Association (APA) style in that it doesn’t use numbers or symbols to cite sources and focuses on punctuation and sentence structure instead of a set format. Both methods require you to list your sources and put them into a bibliography at the end of your paper, but Chicago style also requires you to provide citations within the body of your text along with page numbers for quotes or paraphrasing so readers can look up those references in the reference section at the back of your paper. Let’s take a look at how to cite sources using these two styles so you can decide which one works best for you.
In Chicago style, you don’t need to worry about using numbers or symbols to write down the references to your sources. Instead, you place numbers in parenthesis (like this: (1)) within your text where you make reference to a source and then provide the details of that source in a bibliography at the end of your paper. The bibliography should be listed alphabetically by authors’ family names and include any other relevant information such as dates and titles. Within the body of your paper, provide enough information for readers so they can locate that source in the bibliography if they decide to check it. For example, if you’re writing about how people learned about bees before scientists started using microscopes, you might mention that “According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘bee’ originally meant ‘be.’ (1)” and then provide details about that source in your bibliography.
In APA style, you use numbers or symbols such as superscripts or parentheses with a set format for every reference within the body of your paper. Like Chicago style, you provide readers with enough information so they can locate that source in the reference section at the end of your paper. For example, if you’re writing about how people learned about bees before scientists started using microscopes, you might say something like “It is widely believed that ancient civilizations recognized insects as pollinators without using any optics devices (Bee). Bee.” Details about this source would then be provided in the reference section along with other sources you may have used.
Both Chicago style and APA style require you to list your sources at the end of your paper, but they differ in how you present that information within the body of your text. Some people find it easier to use APA format since it is more straightforward than Chicago. Others find Chicago’s method easier for academic writing because it doesn’t rely on symbols or numbers so punctuation and sentence structure are less restricted than in APA style. You can even combine elements from each style to create a hybrid citation system if you’d like. The most important thing is to choose an annotation method based on what works best for you and stick with it throughout your entire paper.
To learn more about these reference styles, check out these helpful links: