Turabian Dissertation Format: Basic Guidelines For College Students


The Turabian Quick Guide was written by Kate L. Turabian for all writers of papers including theses, dissertations, and other academic papers. It is a guide for student writers needing to document their paper and presents two documentation systems that are bibliography style and author-date style. Below are some basic guidelines on how to use the Turabian format.

A quick guide

  1. Formatting
  2. Typically the Turabian formatting will be presented in Times New Roman size 12 font and will include a 1-inch margin at the top, bottom, left and right. Other requirements include double spacing (this does have exceptions, i.e. block quotes, bibliographies, and the reference list or appendix) and the first line of a paragraph being indented five spaces.

    The front page does not need to be numbered if it is the only one and if there is a table of contents the front page will be i. The rest of the pages need to be numbered consecutively in Arabic numbers. The page number should be placed top right-hand corner of each page.

  3. Style of writing
  4. Remember there are two styles of citations in Turabian format. These are bibliographic style and author-date style. Make sure you choose one in order to not get confused half way through writing. An exception to the rule is the Bible, as it is considered sacred work, cite it in the footnotes. Always remember to use an active voice when writing.

  5. Heading formatting in the main body of text
  6. When using headings, please always check the professor’s guidelines however if these are not clearly stated you can use a variety of heading formats. You do however need to ensure you use the same style all through your piece of work.

  7. Referencing styles
  8. When starting to collate your bibliography, use the correct formatting. Use the title Bibliography written in capitals at the center of the top of your page and number it consecutively with the texts and all other endnotes. Your bibliography will need to be in alphabetical order and single-spaced with a blank line between each source.

    You should always present the sources of your research when writing an academic paper. Avoid citing websites when writing your bibliography and always choose the style of bibliography i.e. bibliography style or reference style. There are a number of bibliography styles so consult your professor for his preference.

If writing in reference style, there is one general form used. This will be:

Last name, First name. Year published. Title of book: Subtitle of book. Publication city: Publisher.

Do your homework

When using Turabian’s dissertation format always consult your professor with his or her personal preference for referencing your paper as there are a number of Turabian styles that are being used in the bibliography style.

Aside from this, follow the basic guidelines above and good luck with your paper!



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