What are Chicago-Style Research Papers and Why Should Your Teen Write One?

What are Chicago-Style Research Papers and Why Should Your Teen Write One?

What Are Chicago-Style Research Papers and Why Should Your Teen Write One

What are Chicago-Style Research Papers and Why Should Your Teen Write One?

One of the goals we 7Sisters have had for our high schoolers (and the ones we teach in co-op or group classes) has been: give them an experience with each of the research paper styles that they will see in college.


If they have had some experience at high school level with those more rigorous types of writing, they won’t be spending so much of their valuable (and sometimes scarce) time FIGURING OUT the styles. They can spend more time and effort on content. That helps them manage time and get better grades in college!

Thus, our high schoolers have written one research paper each year and have learned the most-often used-in-college MLA and APA styles.

Recently some of our homeschool graduates have been coming back to me and reporting that their university has them write Chicago-style papers in some of their classes…”Mrs. Tillman, YOU never taught us Chicago style! Maybe you should teach this to the high schoolers!”

SO, that’s what we did! Introducing Chicago-Style Research Paper Writing Guide.

Chicago Style Research Paper

Chicago-Style Research Paper Writing Guide is a 5-week study aimed at high schoolers who already have some experience with research paper writing. It is a:

  • self-guided
  • step-by-step
  • no-busywork guide that coaches a teen from start to finish through writing a Chicago-style research paper.

Rubric for grading included!

What is Chicago style?

Chicago style is the creation of the University of Chicago Press. It is an old and successful format with several variations. (I was SO excited when I researched Chicago style with my college student son, who was one of those who reported to me that he had to write papers in Chicago style. I found that Chicago style was the style we used when I was in college!)

Because our local college students are using the Chicago style NB format (Note-Bibliography), Chicago-Style Research Paper Writing Guide follows that format.

Chicago style NB research papers are most frequently used for humanities and some social sciences. 

  • Religion
  • Philosophy
  • Art
  • Music
  • Theater
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Business
  • Computers/Technology
  • International Studies
  • Criminology

The biggest differences between Chicago style and MLA or APA papers is:

  • There are footnotes for each citation
  • The citations are superscripts

Some other things that are need-to-know about these papers:

  • Chicago-style papers include a thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph. This is similar to the MLA papers your teens have written during high school.
  • Chicago-style’s NB format is flexible in some ways. It allows teachers to instruct students to use section titles for transitions (just like APA papers) OR simply rely on transition sentences (just like MLA papers).

Chicago-style can be an enjoyable style paper these days…At least for us moms who remember back in the ancient days of typing papers on typewriters or word processors. We slaved and fretted on how much room to save for footnotes at the bottom of the page. These days, Pages and Word, automatically do that work for the teens!

Click here to view excerpts from Chicago Style Research Paper Writing Guide.

If you are concerned which know which order is best for writing research papers (MLA, APA, Chicago or APA, MLA, Chicago), we have advice for you in this post.

Give your homeschool high schoolers experience with this type paper! Download a copy of Chicago-Style Research Paper Writing Guide.

For tips on how to help your teen get their research paper done, check out this post.

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What are Chicago-Style Research Papers and Why Should Your Teen Write One?


Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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