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5 Basic Characteristics Of A Good Research Paper In The Chicago Format

Writing styles have come and gone over the years but a few have remained popular. The format of each style has its own specific requirements and guidelines to follow when writing. Your instructor may require a certain writing style, or some may leave it to author’s choice. You’ll want to be certain to adhere to whatever style your teacher or supervisor specifies.

Each style will have a few basics that are shared among the other styles, such as margins, spacing and fonts. The Chicago style has a few characteristics that are specific to it. These are things your professor will probably be looking for when scoring your paper. Toward that end, here’s some of the basic characteristics that you’ll find in a good research paper when it’s written in the Chicago format:

  1. Text specifics. The text of your paper should be double-spaced with no blank lines inserted between each paragraph. Instead, the first line of each paragraph should be indented. This is all that is needed to denote the beginning of a new paragraph. Be sure that you do not number your paragraphs, either.
  2. Font choice. With Chicago style, you are not allowed to use just any font. This style of writing allows a plain serif or sans-serif font. Palatino, Arial or Helvetica are popular choices. It is generally a good idea to check with your instructor before you begin writing to make certain there is not a specific font he or she wants used. Ignorance of your professor’s preference is not a justification for using an unapproved font.
  3. Published works. When it comes to indicating the title of a book, the writer has the choice in Chicago style to either underline the title of the book or use italics to emphasis the title. The choice you make must be used consistently throughout the paper, however.
  4. Spacing. Those who learned to type “back in the day” when typewriters were used learned to double-space between sentences. With modern computers and word processing programs, there is no need for that. A single space after the end of a sentence is sufficient.
  5. Format properly. The best titles are those that are no shorter than seven words but no longer than 15. This includes a title and subtitle divided by a colon. If the paper is longer than five pages in length, a title page is required with the title near the center of the vertical page and centered on the horizontal. The title page should include your name, course and the date below.

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