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Theological Research and Writing: Citing

A Guide to Cutting Edge Critical Thinking; Cutting Edge Research and Writing at BMATS

A Manual for Writers

Citing, adding footnotes, and creating bibliographies for your papers is a breeze with Zotero.  Check out the Zotero Libguide!

Using Worldcat

   Alternatively, you can grab a citation in Turabian format from  When you visit the page for a particular resource you can select “Cite/Export” and choose which format you want from a list.  (Click here for a screenshot)

What is Turabian?

Kate L. Turabian's  A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is the style guide used most often in theological writing.  It teaches readers how to plan research and how to select, evaluate, use, and cite sources.  The manual also includes instructions on elements of style, such as uses for periods, commas, and semicolons in formal writing.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is:

the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.” -Oxford Dictionaries Online.     

             People who plagiarize deliberately are cheating.  Using someone else’s research paper, purchasing a complete research paper online, or pasting passages from a web site are deliberate acts of plagiarism with high consequences for your academic career.  Don’t do it!

            Accidental plagiarism occurs when well-meaning, honest students neglect to cite a source when using someone else's idea.  This occurs most often when students summarize or paraphrase the idea in their own words, thinking that because they used their own words, they are innocent of plagiarism.  

  It does not matter if you use your own words or not.  If it is not your idea, you must cite the source!

Source Citation

            Honest students can avoid accidental plagiarism by practicing correct source citation.  The purpose of source citation is to give credit for another person’s ideas when you use them.  It documents your research so that your reader can follow in your footsteps.  If the authors of your sources had not cited the sources for their information, you would not be able to track an idea to its earliest source, thus hampering scholarship. 

   You must cite when:

  • Quoting someone else’s writing or speaking word-for-word.
  • Using someone else’s image or anything else you did not create.
  • Paraphrasing someone else’s ideas in your own words.
  • Summarizing a large passage.

Turabian Quick guide

            The following link will direct you to the official Turabian quick guide.  There are actually two citation systems within Turabian, the bibliography style and the author-date style.  Each of these systems is useful for different fields of study.   Students and scholars of the arts and humanities, including theology and Biblical study use the bibliography style, whereas students and researchers in the social sciences use author-date style.  The reason has to do with the nature of the respective fields of study.  Your bibliography references will look different than your footnote references.  You can see both forms for each type of information source in the guide at the link below.

Be sure to use the Bibliography style from the Turabian Quick Guide.

CLICK HERE for the Turabian Quick Guide

Inserting a Turabian footnote in Microsoft Word 2010

            This video will show you how to insert and format a footnote in Microsoft Word 2010.  Thanks to New Light Theological Seminary for uploading this video to YouTube!

After your first footnote for a source...

             After your first footnote for a particular source, you will no longer need to provide a full footnote in subsequent footnotes for that source.  The following screenshot shows the differences.

            Observe that the second footnote merely includes the author’s last name and the page number.  Note that the third footnote, and all future footnotes for that work are like this as well.  If you have two works by the same author, include a form of the title shortened by an ellipsis (….).



            If you need to cite from the same source two or more times in a row, use “Ibid.” with the page number, as shown:

Using Ibid.

Cover pages, etc.

Most professors are not very strict about the formatting of cover pages, nor do they require a table of contents or sub-headings, etc.  Confer with your professor regarding his preferences.  Students often ask about “that Turabian cover page with all the information on it.”  That cover page looks something like this:

Cover Page


While a professor may require something of this sort, the official Turabian format for a standard class paper is really very simple.  When students add a cover page like this it is usually a modified form of a dissertation or thesis cover page.  Above all, follow your professor’s instructions.  If, however, you want to copy this format, go ahead.