How to survive a PhD viva: 17 top tips

Just handed in your PhD thesis? Now it’s time to plan for the next hurdle: a viva. Academics offer their advice on how to best prepare

Handing in your PhD thesis is a massive achievement – but it’s not the end of the journey for doctoral students. Once you’ve submitted, you’ll need to prepare for the next intellectually-gruelling hurdle: a viva.

This oral examination is a chance for students to discuss their work with experts. Its formal purpose is to ensure that there’s no plagiarism involved, and that the student understands and can explain their thesis. It involves lots of penetrating questions, conceptually complex debates and is infamously terrifying.

How can PhD students best prepare? We asked a number of academics and recent survivors for their tips.

Preparing for the viva

1) Check your institution’s policies and practices

Institutional policies and practices vary. Find out who will attend your viva (eg will a supervisor attend, will there be an independent chair?) and what their roles are.
Penny Tinkler and Carolyn Jackson, authors of The Doctoral Examination process: A Handbook for Students, Examiners and Supervisors

2) Re-read your thesis – and keep up-to-date with research

Don’t underestimate the amount of time the examiners will have spent reading and thinking about your thesis – however, you should remember that you are still likely to be the “expert in the room” on this particular topic. Check to see if any relevant recent papers have emerged since submitting the thesis and, if so, read these.
Dianne Berry, dean of postgraduate research studies, University of Reading

3) As an examiner, you tend to stick to things you’re an expert in when driving the questioning

Your viva panel will consist of an external expertise in your subject area and an internal which may be in a subject field associated or directly related to yours. The external examiner is the one who mainly calls and fires all the shots and so it’s pretty important to have a knowledge of their published contributions, especially those that are related to your thesis in any way.
Dr Bhavik Anil Patel, senior lecturer in physical and analytical chemistry

4) Think about what you will or won’t defend

Consider carefully what you will defend to the hilt in the viva, and what you are prepared to concede. It’s important to defend your claims about the originality of the thesis and its contribution to knowledge. However, no research is perfect, and showing that you have considered what could have been done differently, or even better, is not a bad thing.
Penny Tinkler and Carolyn Jackson, authors of The Doctoral Examination process: A Handbook for Students, Examiners and Supervisors

5) Draw up lists of possible questions – especially ones you dread

I collected questions from a bunch of different places (listed here) which I then tailored to my PhD. Somebody I worked with also recommended that I put together my 10 nightmare questions. I found this really useful, by writing down and thinking about my dreaded questions, they were no longer so bad – it was almost as if I’d faced the beast.

Generally speaking, I was able to predict the questions that I was asked. There were a couple that were unexpected but they were either conceptual points or based on literature that I just didn’t know.
Richard Budd, research assistant, University of Bristol who sat his viva in summer 2014 and has blogged about the experience

6) It’s not like sitting at a laptop where you can edit a sentence as you go along

By the time you finish your PhD you’ll know your thesis inside out. One of the things you won’t be as practised at is talking about it. When I was preparing for my viva, I practised vocalising answers. It’s not a case of needing to learn to answers verbatim – this would only work as a technique if you could guarantee the exact way your examiner will ask a question – but it is about thinking about how you will articulate certain things. A viva isn’t like sitting at a laptop where you can edit a sentence as you go along. 
Richard Budd, research assistant, University of Bristol who sat his viva in summer 2014 and has blogged about the experience

7) Bring a printed copy that is exactly the same as that of your examiners

Ensure you and your supervisor have a printed copy that is exactly the same as that of your examiners (specifically the same pagination). Mark with tabs the key sections and highlight for reference important quotes and points you might want to refer to. If you have some key diagrams it may help to have these printed larger on A4 sheets that can be used in a discussion.

There is a chance, albeit slim, that an examiner will wish to see some piece of experimental data, software, or other supporting evidence. Have this all neatly archived and accessible. You can do this after submission.
Anthony Finkelstein, dean of the UCL faculty of engineering sciences who hasblogged about surviving vivas

During the viva

8) Get off to a good start

Give a few detailed answers in the opening 15 minutes, demonstrating knowledge, describing your thinking and working – then the examiners are likely to relax into the viva. If the first few answers are short and non-specific, not demonstrating knowledge, this can begin to raise concerns, and that can set the tone for the whole viva. This is avoidable.
Rowena Murray, author of How to Survive Your Viva: Defending a Thesis in an Oral Examination

9) Prepare for the icebreaker

Every viva opens with that dreaded icebreaker that is supposed to break you in gently but often seems to be the thing that gets students into a pickle. It’s so basic, students almost forget about it. Most often this would be to give a five to 10 minute introduction to your work and your key findings. This is such a common question that not preparing for it would be silly.
Dr Bhavik Anil Patel, senior lecturer in physical and analytical chemistry

10) Silence doesn’t mean bad news

Don’t assume that you will be given any indication of the outcome at the start of the viva. The examiners may or may not offer comments on the thesis at this stage and candidates should not interpret a lack of comments at this point as a negative sign. In some cases institutional policy prohibits it. 
Penny Tinkler and Carolyn Jackson, authors of The Doctoral Examination process: A Handbook for Students, Examiners and Supervisors

11) Don’t point out your own weaknesses

Avoid shooting yourself in the foot by highlighting the weaknesses in the thesis by being overly humble (eg “I didn’t think this would be an acceptable piece of research given the way I handled x or y”) or by saying what you “failed to achieve” or “did not manage to carry out in a robust manner” etc. Leave that to the examiners to pick up in their reading, they don’t need help.
Dr Mariana Bogdanova, lecturer in management, Queen’s University Belfast

12) Don’t talk like a politician

There’s a danger of trying to over-prepare. Don’t learn answers off by heart – it removes the spontaneity and is obvious to examiners. If a student has pre-prepared answers they become a bit like politicians, answering questions they weren’t asked rather than the ones they were. I have come across mixed views on mock vivas. Some people really like them – and they can settle nerves – but other times it can remove spontaneity and steal your thunder.
Jerry Wellington, head of research degrees at University of Sheffield and author of Succeeding with Your Doctorate

13) You may need to move from friendly questions to complex debates

Vivas can appear friendly and then suddenly go very conceptually complex. The language used is an alternation between accessible normal language and really specialised arguments. The student needs to be able to move orally between the two.
Gina Wisker, professor of higher education and contemporary literature at Brighton University

14) If things get on top of you, use the excuse of having a look at the thesis

Make sure that before the viva you get plenty of sleep, eat properly and de-stress. If things get too much when you’re in there, use the excuse of having to look something up in your thesis. You could also pause and say “Can I write that down for a moment?” Stall for time until you get yourself back together again.
Gina Wisker, professor of higher education and contemporary literature at Brighton University

15) Focus on your contribution

One of the most important things that the examiners will be looking for in your thesis, is the “contribution to knowledge”. It is the contribution which makes your work doctoral level. Be sure that you understand exactly what your contribution is, and that you are able to express and explain it clearly and concisely.

Write it down in a paragraph. Discuss it with you supervisor and fellow students. Make sure that you can relate your contribution to other work in your field and that you are able to explain how your work is different.
Peter Smith, author of The PhD Viva

16) Expect your viva to last between one and three hours

Students frequently ask how long the viva is likely to be. Obviously they vary. Discipline differences are important. Our research suggests that most natural and applied sciences vivas were completed in one to three hours, whereas arts, humanities and social science vivas were typically less than two hours long. In the natural and applied sciences 43% of vivas lasted two hours or less, compared to 83% in arts, humanities and social sciences.
Penny Tinkler and Carolyn Jackson, authors of The Doctoral Examination Process: A Handbook for Students, Examiners and Supervisors

17) Enjoy it

The best advice I ever got was “Try to enjoy it”. It seemed ludicrous at the time, but I actually found myself really getting into the discussion as the viva went on. It’s one of the earliest chances you get to talk to someone who not only informed your research (ideally) but is also conversant with your own. It’s a great chance to explore the contours of your research – treat it as such, and it doesn’t seem quite
so daunting.
Michael James Heron, school of computing science and digital media, Robert Gordon University


The Chicago Manual of Style 17 – 16

16.1The back-of-the-book index as model
16.2Why index?
16.3Who should index a work?
16.4The indexer and deadlines
16.5The role of software in indexing
16.6Single versus multiple indexes
16.7Embedded indexes
16.8Resources for indexers
Components of an Index
Main Headings, Subentries, and Locators
16.9Main headings for index entries
16.10Index subentries
16.11Initial lowercase letters in main headings and subheadings
16.12Locators in indexes
16.13Linked indexes for e-books and other electronic formats
16.14Inclusive numbers in indexes
16.15Cross-references in indexes—general principles
16.16“See” references and “double posting”
16.17“See” references following a main heading
16.18“See” references following a subheading
16.19“See” references to a subheading
16.20“See also” references
16.21Correspondence between cross-references and headings
16.22Italics for “see,” “see also,” and so forth
16.23Generic cross-references
Run-In versus Indented Indexes
16.24Flush-and-hang formatting for indexes
16.25Run-in style for indexes
16.26Indented style for indexes
16.27Sub-subentries in run-in indexes
16.28Sub-subentries in indented indexes
General Principles of Indexing
16.29Style and usage in the index relative to the work
16.30Choosing indexing terms
16.31Terms that should not be indexed
Indexing Proper Names and Variants
16.32Choosing between variant names
16.33Indexing familiar forms of personal names
16.34Indexing pseudonyms or stage names
16.35Indexing persons with the same name
16.36Indexing married women’s names
16.37Indexing monarchs, popes, and the like
16.38Indexing princes, dukes, and other titled persons
16.39Clerical titles in index entries
16.40Academic titles and degrees in index entries
16.41“Jr.,” “Sr.,” “III,” and the like in index entries
16.42Indexing saints
16.43Indexing persons whose full names are unknown
16.44Indexing incomplete names or names alluded to in text
16.45Indexing confusing names
16.46Indexing abbreviations
Indexing Titles of Publications and Other Works
16.47Typographic treatment for indexed titles of works
16.48Indexing newspaper titles
16.49Indexing magazine and journal titles
16.50Indexing authored titles of works
16.51Indexing English-language titles beginning with an article
16.52Indexing non-English titles beginning with an article
16.53Indexing titles beginning with a preposition
16.54Indexing titles ending with a question mark or exclamation point
16.55Subtitles in index entries
16.56Alphabetizing main headings—the basic rule
16.57Computerized sorting
Letter by Letter or Word by Word?
16.58Two systems of alphabetizing—an overview
16.59The letter-by-letter system
16.60The word-by-word system
16.61The two systems compared
General Rules of Alphabetizing
16.62Alphabetizing items with the same name
16.63Alphabetizing initials versus spelled-out names
16.64Alphabetizing abbreviations
16.65Alphabetizing headings beginning with numerals
16.66Alphabetizing similar headings containing numerals
16.67Alphabetizing accented letters
16.68Alphabetical order of subentries
16.69Numerical order of subentries
16.70Chronological order of subentries
Personal Names
16.71Indexing names with particles
16.72Indexing compound names
16.73Indexing names with “Mac,” “Mc,” or “O’”
16.74Indexing names with “Saint”
Non-English Personal Names
16.75Indexing Arabic names
16.76Indexing Burmese names
16.77Indexing Chinese names
16.78Indexing Hungarian names
16.79Indexing Indian names
16.80Indexing Indonesian names
16.81Indexing Japanese names
16.82Indexing Korean names
16.83Indexing Portuguese names
16.84Indexing Spanish names
16.85Indexing Thai names
16.86Indexing Vietnamese names
16.87Indexing other Asian names
Names of Organizations and Businesses
16.88Omission of article in indexed names of organizations
16.89Indexing personal names as corporate names
Names of Places
16.90Indexing names beginning with “Mount,” “Lake,” and such
16.91Indexing names beginning with the definite article
16.92Indexing names beginning with non-English definite articles
16.93Indexing names of places beginning with “Saint”
Punctuating Indexes: A Summary
16.94Comma in index entries
16.95Colon in index entries
16.96Semicolon in index entries
16.97Period in index entries
16.98Parentheses in index headings
16.99Em dash in index entries
16.100En dash in index entries
The Mechanics of Indexing
Before Indexing Begins: Tools and Decisions
16.101Schedule for indexing
16.102Indexing from page proofs
16.103Publisher’s indexing preferences
16.104Indexing tools
16.105Using the electronic files to index
16.106Formatting index entries
16.107Indexing the old-fashioned way
When to Begin
16.108Preliminary indexing work
What Parts of the Work to Index
16.109Indexing the text, front matter, and back matter
16.110Indexing footnotes and endnotes
16.111Endnote locators in index entries
16.112Footnote locators in index entries
16.113Indexing notes spanning more than one printed page
16.114Indexing parenthetical text citations
16.115Indexing authors’ names for an author index
16.116Indexing illustrations, tables, charts, and such
Marking Proofs and Preparing Entries
16.117Beginning to highlight and enter terms
16.118Deciding how many terms to mark
16.119How to mark index entries
16.120Planning index subentries
16.121Recording inclusive numbers for index terms
16.122Typing and modifying index entries
16.123Alphabetizing entries as part of the indexing process
16.124Final check of indexed proofs
16.125Noting errors during indexing
Editing and Refining the Entries
16.126Refining the terms for main headings
16.127Main entries versus subentries
16.128When to furnish subentries
16.129How to phrase subheadings
16.130Checking cross-references against edited index headings
Submitting the Index
16.131Index submission format
Editing an Index Compiled by Someone Else
16.132What to do with a very bad index
16.133Index-editing checklist
16.134Instructions for typesetting the index
Typographical Considerations for Indexes
16.135Type size and column width for indexes
16.136Ragged right-hand margin for indexes
16.137Indenting index entries
16.138Fixing bad breaks in indexes
16.139Adding “continued” lines in an index
16.140Making typographic distinctions in index entries
Examples of Indexes
16.141A run-in index with italicized references to figures and tables
16.142An indented index with run-in sub-subentries
16.143An indented index with indented sub-subentries and highlighted definitions
16.144An index of first lines
16.145An index with authors, titles, and first lines combined

The Chicago Manual of Style 17 – 15

15.1The scope of this chapter
15.2Author-date references versus notes and bibliography
15.3Notes and bibliography entries as models for author-date references
15.4Sources consulted online
Basic Format, with Examples and Variations
15.5The author-date system—overview
15.6Basic structure of a reference list entry
15.7Basic structure of an in-text citation
15.8Page numbers and other locators
15.9Author-date references—examples and variations
Reference Lists and Text Citations
Reference Lists
15.10Function and placement of reference lists
15.11Alphabetical arrangement of reference list entries
15.12Authors’ names in reference list entries
15.13Titles in reference list entries
15.14Placement of dates in reference list entries
15.15Abbreviations in reference list entries
15.16Single author versus several authors—reference list order
The 3-Em Dash for Repeated Names in a Reference List
15.17The 3-em dash in reference lists—some caveats
15.18Chronological order for repeated names in a reference list
15.19The 3-em dash with edited, translated, or compiled works
15.20Reference list entries with same author(s), same year
Text Citations
15.21Agreement of text citation and reference list entry
15.22Text citations—basic form
15.23Page and volume numbers or other specific locators in text citations
15.24Additional material in text citations
15.25Text citations in relation to surrounding text and punctuation
15.26Text citations in relation to direct quotations
15.27Several references to the same source
15.28Syntactic considerations with text citations
15.29Text citations of works with more than three authors
15.30Multiple text references
15.31Author-date system with notes
Author-Date References: Special Cases
15.32Items not necessarily covered in chapter 14
Author’s Name
15.33Publications preferring initials for authors’ names
15.34Author-date format for anonymous works (no listed author)
15.35Pseudonyms in author-date references
15.36Editor in place of author in text citations
15.37Organization as author in author-date references
Title of Work
15.38Publications preferring sentence-style capitalization for titles
15.39Citing author-date sources by title
15.40Reprint editions and modern editions—more than one date
15.41Multivolume works published over more than one year
15.42Cross-references to multiauthor books in reference lists
15.43Author-date style for letters in published collections
15.44No date of publication in author-date references
15.45“Forthcoming” in author-date references
15.46Publications preferring abbreviations for journal titles
15.47Parentheses or comma with issue number
15.48Colon with volume number
15.49Newspapers and magazines in reference lists
Websites, Blogs, and Social Media
15.50Websites and access dates in author-date format
15.51Citing blogs in author-date format
15.52Citing social media content in author-date format
Interviews and Personal Communications
15.53Unpublished interviews and personal communications
Manuscript Collections
15.54Manuscript collections in author-date format
Patents and Standards
15.55Patents or other documents cited by more than one date
Citations Taken from Secondary Sources
15.56“Quoted in” in author-date references
Audiovisual Recordings and Other Multimedia
15.57Citing recordings and multimedia in author-date format
Legal and Public Documents
15.58Using notes for legal and public documents
15.59Citing legal and public documents in text

The Chicago Manual of Style 17 – 14

14: Notes and Bibliography

Source Citations: An Overview

14.1 The purpose of source citations
Ethics, copyright laws, and courtesy to readers require authors to identify the sources of direct quotations or paraphrases and of any facts or opinions not generally known or easily checked (see 13.1–6). Conventions for citing sources vary according to scholarly discipline, the preferences of publishers and authors, and the needs of a particular work. Regardless of the convention being followed, source citations must always provide sufficient information either to lead readers directly to the sources consulted or, for materials that may not be readily available, to enable readers to positively identify them, regardless of whether the sources are published or unpublished or in printed or electronic form.

14.2 Chicago’s two systems of source citation
This chapter describes the first of Chicago’s two systems of source citation, which uses notes, whether footnotes or endnotes or both, usually together with a bibliography. The notes allow space for unusual types of sources as well as for commentary on the sources cited, making this system extremely flexible. Because of this flexibility, the notes and bibliography system is preferred by many writers in literature, history, and the arts. Chicago’s other system—which uses parenthetical author-date references and a corresponding reference list as described in chapter 15—is nearly identical in content but differs in form. The author-date system is preferred for many publications in the sciences and social sciences but may be adapted for any work, sometimes with the addition of footnotes or endnotes. For journals, the choice between systems is likely to have been made long ago; anyone writing for a journal should consult the specific journal’s instructions to authors (and see 14.3).

14.3 Other systems of source citation
Among other well-known systems are those of the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA), both of which use in-text citations (described in chapter 15), and that of the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA uses a numbered list of references cited in the text by reference number; the text numbers appear as superior figures like note reference numbers. Guidelines and examples for these three systems are to be found in the manuals of those associations. Scientific Style and Format, published by the Council of Science Editors (CSE) in cooperation with the University of Chicago Press, also furnishes useful guidelines on both the author-date system and numbered references (see bibliog. 1.1 for these and other style manuals). Many journals and serials—including some of those published by the University of Chicago Press—either follow one of these styles or have their own styles, often based on or similar to the systems mentioned here and in 14.2. For legal and public documents, Chicago recommends The Bluebook, published by the Harvard Law Review Association; see 14.269–305.

14.4 Flexibility and consistency
As long as a consistent style is maintained within any one work, logical and defensible variations on the style illustrated in this chapter and in chapter 15 are acceptable if agreed to by author and publisher. Such flexibility, however, is rarely possible in journal publication, which calls for adherence to the established style of the journal in question. See also 14.3.

14.5 Citation management tools
It is rarely necessary to create a source citation from scratch; even most printed resources will be listed with library catalogs or other online resources. From there, it is easy enough to copy and paste relevant data or to extract them using a number of available tools. Citation management applications such as EndNote or Zotero allow users to build libraries of reference data based directly on their research. These data can be used to place notes or in-text references in a manuscript or to generate bibliographies or reference lists—all formatted according to any number of citation styles (including both of Chicago’s). The results, however, are only as good as the data that generate them and the software used to format them. A few caveats:

  • Double-check your data. As you build your library of source data, check each field against the actual source as soon as you acquire the data for it. Make sure authors’ names, titles of works, dates, and so forth are accurate and that they are entered in the appropriate fields. Check also for missing or redundant data. (It is okay, however, to collect more data than you will use in your citations.) You will need to do this whether you entered the data yourself or exported the citation from a library catalog or other resource.
  • Double-check your citations. Once a source citation has been inserted in your manuscript, make sure it is correctly formatted according to the recommendations in this chapter or chapter 15. Things to look for include errant punctuation or capitalization and missing or superfluous data. Enter corrections in the citation management application (or adjust its settings, as applicable) and double-check the results in the manuscript.
  • Make sure your citations are backed up. Some applications will let you back up your data automatically. It is usually a good idea also to keep local copies as a safeguard. Such backups are helpful not only for ongoing research but also in the event your manuscript must be resubmitted for any reason.

Citation management tools work best for citing recently published books and journal articles and other common publication formats. The variety of sources typically cited in a scholarly work, on the other hand, usually precludes an acceptable result from software alone. Authors are therefore strongly encouraged to review their citations for consistency, accuracy, and completeness before submitting their final manuscripts (editors, in turn, should be aware of how the software works in order to help identify any potential pitfalls). Note also that your publisher may require that such citations be presented as ordinary text, stripped of any of the underlying codes such as fields or hyperlinks used in creating or organizing them. Authors should double-check citations after this conversion to ordinary text and fix any problems both in the text and in the citation data; authors are also advised to save a backup copy of the penultimate version of the manuscript, with codes intact, in case the citations need to be regenerated for any reason. See also 2.22.

Sources Consulted Online

14.6 Electronic resource identifiers
Authors citing sources consulted online should generally include a uniform resource locator, or URL,1 as the final element in a citation that includes all the components described throughout this chapter and in chapter 15. A URL has the potential to lead readers directly to the source cited, and authors are encouraged to include them as part of their source citations (but see 14.11). Many journal publishers, especially in the sciences, create links to sources cited in their articles as a matter of course—a process that authors facilitate when they include electronic resource identifiers with their source citations. Book publishers, on the other hand, may require URLs only in citations of sources that may otherwise be difficult to locate. Authors are therefore advised to consult their publishers early in the publication process. The information in this section—together with the examples of URLs throughout this chapter—is intended to provide guidance for those authors and publishers who wish to include them as part of their research or publications or both. See also 14.7. For citing other types of electronic formats, see 14.159, 14.163, 14.263, 14.265.

14.7 Uniform resource locators (URLs)
A uniform resource locator, or URL—for example,—is designed to lead a reader directly to an internet source. Note that it is never sufficient to provide only a URL; as far as they can be determined, the full facts of publication should always be recorded first. Readers should be able to judge the nature and authority of any source from the full facts of publication as detailed throughout this chapter and chapter 15. Moreover, the source to which a URL points is apt to move to a different location or to disappear altogether. For this reason, it is important to choose the version of the URL that is most likely to continue to point to the source cited. For DOIs, see 14.8. For other options, see 14.9, 14.10, 14.11. For URL syntax, see 14.17 and 14.18. For examples of URLs in source citations, see 14.23 (under “Journal Article”) and throughout this chapter and chapter 15.

14.8 Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)
One of a number of standards addressing the need for more reliable resource identifiers is that of the Digital Object Identifier (DOI).2 A DOI is a unique and permanent string assigned to a piece of intellectual property such as a journal article or book (or a component thereof), in any medium in which it is published. (The term “digital” refers to the identifier and not necessarily to the object.) A DOI forms a persistent URL starting with followed by a prefix (such as 10.1086) assigned by a DOI registration agency such as Crossref and then a suffix assigned by the publisher. For example, identifies the article entitled “Scott’s Editing: History, Polyphony, Authority,” by Robert Mayer, published in the May 2015 issue of Modern Philology. This URL will, at a minimum, redirect the user to the latest version of a page with information that identifies the content and includes up-to-date information about its location or availability (from the publisher or other content owner). DOIs are often listed with a source in the form of “DOI:” followed by the prefix and suffix; in their source citations, authors should append this DOI to to form a URL as described above. (To find a DOI link or its target, the string starting with the prefix can be entered into the metadata search tool available from Crossref or the DOI resolver provided by the International DOI Foundation.) DOIs are an implementation of the Handle System, which also provides for URLs that begin with and function in much the same way as DOI-based URLs. Authors should prefer a DOI- or Handle-based URL whenever one is available. Examples are included throughout the section on journals (14.168–87) and at 14.161 and 14.234.

2. For more information about DOIs, consult the websites of the International DOI Foundation and Crossref.

14.9 Permalinks and the like
URLs are usually recorded by copying the version of the URL that appears with the source in a web browser’s address bar (or sometimes through a sharing option) as the current link for the reference. Some internet resources list another version of the URL along with the resource itself intended for citing or sharing the link. In the absence of a DOI or the like (see 14.8), these URLs—often labeled as persistent URLs, permalinks, stable URLs, or the like—should generally be preferred. As with any URL, they should be tested to make sure they lead where intended. When a URL points to a location that requires a subscription to a commercial database (e.g., through a library), it may be better to name the database instead (see 14.11).

14.10 Short forms for URLs
A very long URL—one that runs to as much as a line or more of text, especially if it contains a lot of punctuation or other syntax readable mainly by computers—can often be shortened simply by finding a better version of the link. If the source offers a DOI (see 14.8), use that; otherwise, determine whether a permalink or the like is available (see 14.9). If not, it is still often possible to find a better version of the URL, sometimes by relinking to the source using the available tools for navigation. For example, a search for the 1913 novel Pollyanna in the Google Books database may yield a URL that looks like this:

That URL, the result of a search for a specific passage, points to a corresponding page in the book (p. 226). The URL for the main page for the book looks like this (and should be preferred, assuming a page reference is included as part of the full citation):

Alternatively, it is usually acceptable for such formally published resources simply to list the domain name (e.g., or the name of the database (e.g., Google Books); interested readers should be able to search for and find the cited source based on the full facts of publication. On the other hand, shortened versions of a URL provided by third-party services (and intended primarily for use with social media) should never be used. Not only are such services prone to disappear, but the original URL identifies the domain name and other elements that may be important to the citation. Publishers, however, may choose to make an exception, especially for DOIs. (Short forms for DOIs are available through a service from the International DOI Foundation.)

14.11 Library and other bibliographic databases
For a source consulted via a library or other commercial bibliographic database and available only through a subscription or library account, it may be best to name the database in lieu of a URL. Even a URL recommended for such a source (see 14.9) may lead a nonsubscriber to a login page with no information about the source itself. If in doubt, test the URL while logged out of the library or database; a URL that leads to information about the source, if not full access to it, is safe to use. A URL based on a DOI, which will always direct readers to information about the source, if not full access to it, should be preferred where available (see 14.8). For more information and examples, see 14.161 (books), 14.175 (journals), 14.215 (theses and dissertations).

14.12 Access dates
An access date—that is, the self-reported date on which an author consulted a source—is of limited value: previous versions will often be unavailable to readers; authors typically consult a source any number of times over the course of days or months; and the accuracy of such dates, once recorded, cannot readily be verified by editors or publishers. Chicago does not therefore require access dates in its published citations of electronic sources unless no date of publication or revision can be determined from the source (see also 14.13). Because some publishers in some disciplines—in particular, research-intensive fields such as science and medicine—do require access dates, authors should check with their publishers early on, and it never hurts to record dates of access during research (citation management software will do this automatically). (Students may be required to include access dates in their papers.) For examples, see 14.176, 14.207, and 14.233. For access dates in author-date format, see 15.50.

14.13 “Last modified” and other revision dates
Some electronic documents will include a date on each page or screen indicating the last time the document was modified or revised. There are no accepted standards for this practice, and for formally published material the date of publication is generally more important. A revision date should be included, however, if it is presented as the de facto date of publication or is otherwise the only available date. Such dates may be particularly useful for citing wikis and other frequently updated works. For examples, see 14.207, 14.233, 14.234.

14.14 Authority and permanence
Much as they do for printed publications, authors must weigh the authority of any electronic sources they choose to cite. Electronic content presented without formal ties to a publisher or sponsoring body has the authority equivalent to that of unpublished or self-published material in other media. Moreover, such content is far more likely to change without notice—or disappear altogether—than formally published materials. On the other hand, self-published material from an authority on a given subject can usually be relied on. Authors should note that anything posted on the internet is “published” in the sense of copyright and must be treated as such for the purposes of complete citation and clearance of permissions, if relevant (see 4.2, 4.64–69).

14.15 Preserving a permanent record
As part of their research, and in addition to recording accurate and complete source citations as described throughout this chapter and chapter 15, authors are strongly encouraged to keep a copy of any source that is not formally published, as a hedge against potential challenges to the research or data before, during, or after publication. Such a source might include a post on a social-networking site or app, a page from the website of a banking institution, or a version of an article on a news site reporting an ongoing crisis—any source that may be difficult to track down at a later date in exactly the form in which it was consulted. (Examples of sources that would not be subject to this recommendation would include an article in a journal or a magazine or any book cataloged by the Library of Congress or other national registry.) Copies may be kept in the form of printouts or as digital files (e.g., as PDFs or screen captures), or by means of a permanent link creation service such as

14.16 Publications available in more than one medium
In many cases the contents of the print and electronic forms of the same publication are intended to be identical. Moreover, publishers are encouraged to note explicitly any differences between the two (see 1.78). In practice, because there is always the potential for differences, intentional or otherwise, authors should cite the version consulted. Chicago recommends including a URL to indicate that a work was consulted online. For practical purposes, alternate electronic formats offered by a single publisher from the same URL—for example, PDF and HTML versions of the journal article mentioned in 14.8—do not need to be indicated in the citation. Moreover, a DOI-based URL technically points to each medium in which a work is published. (Though a print source may list a DOI, authors need not record it as part of their research unless their publisher or discipline requires it.) For items designed to be read apart from any website, the application, format, device, or medium should be specified, depending on what might be required to consult a particular version. See also 14.6.

14.17 URLs and other such elements in relation to surrounding text
URLs, email addresses, and the like are unique strings that contain no spaces. URLs should be presented in full, beginning with the protocol (usually http, for hypertext transfer protocol, or https, a version of the protocol that adds support for enhanced security mechanisms). Even if it follows a period, the first letter of the protocol (e.g., the h in http) is not capitalized. (In running text, avoid beginning a sentence with a URL.) The capitalization of the remaining components varies; because some resource identifiers are case sensitive, they should not be edited for style. A “trailing slash” (/), the last character in a URL pointing to a directory, is part of the URL. Other punctuation marks that follow a URL or other such identifier will readily be perceived as belonging to the surrounding text; sentences or citations that include a URL or the like should therefore be punctuated normally. Though angle brackets or other “wrappers” are standard with email addresses or URLs in some applications, these are unnecessary in the context of notes and bibliographies or in running text (see also 6.8).

14.18 URLs and line breaks
In a printed work, if a URL has to be broken at the end of a line, the break should be made after a colon or a double slash (//); before a single slash (/), a tilde (~), a period, a comma, a hyphen, an underline (_), a question mark, a number sign, or a percent symbol; or before or after an equals sign or an ampersand. Such breaks help to signal that the URL has been carried over to the next line. A hyphen should never be added to a URL to denote a line break, nor should a hyphen that is part of a URL appear at the end of a line. If a particularly long element must be broken to avoid a seriously loose or tight line, it can be broken between words or syllables according to the guidelines for word division offered in 7.36–47. Editors, proofreaders, and compositors should use their discretion in applying these recommendations, aiming for a balance between readability and aesthetics.



It is generally unnecessary to specify breaks for URLs in electronic publication formats with reflowable text, and authors should avoid forcing them to break in their manuscripts (see 2.13).

Basic Format, with Examples and Variations

14.19 Notes and bibliography—an overview
In the system favored by many writers in the humanities, bibliographic citations are provided in notes, preferably supplemented by a bibliography. The notes, whether footnotes or endnotes, are usually numbered and correspond to superscript note reference numbers in the text (but see 14.53); in electronic formats, notes and note numbers are usually linked. Notes are styled much like running text, with authors’ names in normal order and the elements separated by commas or parentheses.

The Chicago Manual of Style 17 – 13

13: Quotations and Dialogue


13.1Scope of this chapter—and where else to look
13.2Quotations and modern scholarship
13.3Giving credit and seeking permission
13.4When to paraphrase rather than quote
13.5When quotation and attribution is unnecessary
13.6Ensuring accuracy of quotations

Permissible Changes to Quotations

13.7Permissible changes to punctuation, capitalization, and spelling
13.8Permissible changes to typography and layout

Quotations in Relation to Text

Run In or Set Off

13.9Run-in and block quotations defined
13.10Choosing between run-in and block quotations

Assimilation into the Surrounding Text

13.11Logical and grammatical assimilation of quoted text
13.12Integrating tenses and pronouns from quoted text

Quotations and Punctuation

13.13Punctuation relative to closing quotation marks
13.14Comma to introduce a quotation
13.15No comma to introduce a quotation
13.16Colon to introduce a quotation
13.17Period rather than colon to introduce a block quotation

Initial Capital or Lowercase Letter

13.18Changing capitalization to suit syntax—an overview
13.19Initial capital or lowercase—run-in quotations
13.20Initial capital or lowercase—block quotations
13.21Brackets to indicate a change in capitalization

Block Quotations

13.22Block quotations of more than one paragraph
13.23Block quotations beginning in text
13.24Text following a block quotation or extract

Poetry Extracts

13.25Setting off poetry
13.26Uniform indents for poetry
13.27Long lines and runovers in poetry
13.28Quotation marks in poems
13.29Run-in poetry quotations

Quotation Marks

Double or Single Quotation Marks

13.30Quotations and “quotes within quotes”
13.31Quotation marks in block quotations

Quotations of More than One Paragraph

13.32Quotation marks across paragraphs
13.33Quotations within quotations across paragraphs
13.34Quoting more than one stanza of poetry
13.35Quoting letters in their entirety

Quotation Marks Omitted

13.37Decorative initials (“drop caps” and raised initials)
13.38Maxims, questions, and the like

Speech, Dialogue, and Conversation

13.39Direct discourse
13.40Single-word speech
13.41Faltering speech or incomplete thoughts
13.42Alternatives to quotation marks
13.43Unspoken discourse
13.44Numerals in direct discourse
13.45Indirect discourse

Drama, Discussions and Interviews, and Field Notes

13.47Shared lines and runover lines in verse drama
13.48Discussions and interviews
13.49Case studies and ethnographic field notes


13.50Ellipses defined
13.51Danger of skewing meaning with ellipses
13.52When not to use an ellipsis
13.53Ellipses with periods
13.54Ellipses with other punctuation
13.55Ellipses at the ends of deliberately incomplete sentences
13.56Ellipses for the omission of whole or partial paragraphs
13.57Ellipses in poetry and verse drama
13.58Bracketed ellipses

Interpolations and Clarifications

13.59Missing or illegible words
13.60Bracketed clarifications
13.62“Italics added”
13.63Interpolations requiring quotation marks

Attributing Quotations in Text

13.64Use of parentheses with in-text citations
13.65Full in-text citation
13.66Shortened citations or “ibid.” with subsequent in-text citations
13.67Frequent reference to a single source cited in a note

Sources Following Run-In Quotations

13.68Punctuation following source of run-in quotation
13.69Punctuation preceding source of run-in quotation

Sources Following Block Quotations and Poetry Extracts

13.70Parenthetical source following a block quotation
13.71Parenthetical citations with poetry extracts
13.72Shortened references to poetry extracts

The Chicago Manual of Style 17 – 12

12: Mathematics in Type


12.1Additional resources for math
12.2Tools for math

Style of Mathematical Expressions

General Usage

12.3Standards for mathematical copy
12.4Consistency of mathematical notation
12.5Words versus mathematical symbols in text
12.6Concise mathematical expression
12.7Sentence beginning with a mathematical symbol
12.8Adjacent mathematical symbols

Signs and Symbols

12.9Mathematical characters
12.10Diacritical and other marks in mathematical notation
12.11Italic letters and kerning in mathematical expressions
12.12Letters and fonts in mathematical notation
12.13List of unusual mathematical characters
12.14Special mathematical symbols
12.15Signs for binary operations and relations
12.16Basic spacing in mathematics
12.17Mathematical functions


12.18Mathematical expressions and punctuation
12.19Elided lists in mathematical expressions
12.20Elided operations and relations

Mathematical Expressions in Display

12.21Displaying mathematical expressions
12.22Qualifying clauses for displayed mathematical expressions
12.23Breaking displayed mathematical expressions


12.24Numbering displayed mathematical expressions
12.25Methods of numeration for mathematical expressions


12.26Common delimiters in mathematics
12.27Functional notation
12.28Set notation
12.29Ordered set notation
12.30Interval notation
12.31Delimiters denoting inner product
12.32Binomial coefficients
12.33Vertical bars in mathematical notation
12.34A single vertical bar in mathematical notation
12.35Cases in mathematical expressions

Subscripts and Superscripts

12.36Simple mathematical subscripts and superscripts
12.37Complex mathematical subscripts and superscripts
12.38Alignment of mathematical subscripts and superscripts

Summations and Integrals

12.39Summation sign
12.40Product sign
12.41Integral sign
12.42Spacing around differentials


12.43Radical signs
12.44Radical signs in text


12.45Fractions in text
12.46Fractions in display
12.47Fractions in subscripts and superscripts
12.48Multiple and multilevel fractions
12.49Rewriting fractions using exponents

Matrices and Determinants


Scalars, Vectors, and Tensors

12.52Scalars, vectors, and tensors defined
12.53Vector and tensor multiplication
12.54Additional tensor notation
12.55Dirac notation

Definitions, Theorems, and Other Formal Statements

12.56Formal mathematical statements in text

Probability and Statistics

12.57Probability and statistics—additional resources
12.59Means and standard deviations

Preparation and Editing of Paper Manuscripts

12.61Format of paper manuscripts for mathematics
12.62Setting mathematics from the author’s hard copy
12.63Marking italic type for mathematics
12.64Marking common mathematical abbreviations
12.65Marking single mathematical letters in other type styles
12.66Mathematical fonts to mark on a paper manuscript
12.67Marking mathematical subscripts and superscripts
12.68Examples of marked mathematical copy

The Chicago Manual of Style 17 – 11

11: Languages Other than English


11.1Scope and organization

General Principles

Words and Phrases from Other Languages

11.3Non-English words and phrases in an English context
11.4Non-English proper nouns in an English context
11.5Translations of terms from other languages

Titles of Works from Other Languages

11.6Capitalization of titles from other languages
11.7Punctuation of titles from other languages
11.8Italic versus roman type for titles from other languages
11.9Non-English titles with English translation
11.10Original-language title of work versus translation

Quotations from Other Languages

11.11Typographic style of quotations from other languages
11.12Translations relative to quotations
11.13Source of quotation plus translation
11.14Crediting the translation of a quoted passage
11.15Adjusting translated quotations
11.16Editing translated quotations
11.17The sin of retranslation

Languages Using the Latin Alphabet

11.18Capitalization—English versus other languages
11.19Punctuation—original language versus English context
11.20Word division for languages other than English
11.21Special characters in the Latin alphabet
11.22International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

African Languages

11.23African capitalization and punctuation
11.24African special characters


11.25French—additional resources
11.26French capitalization
11.27Titles of French works
11.28Spacing with French punctuation
11.29French use of guillemets
11.30Quotation marks in French
11.31French dialogue
11.32French ellipses
11.33French word division—vowels
11.34French word division—consonants
11.35French words containing apostrophes
11.36French words best left undivided
11.37French accents and ligatures


11.38The new German orthography
11.39German capitalization
11.40German apostrophes
11.41German quotation marks
11.42German word division—vowels
11.43German word division—consonants
11.44German word division—compounds
11.45German special characters


11.46Italian capitalization
11.47Italian quotations and dialogue
11.48Italian apostrophes
11.49Italian ellipses
11.50Italian word division—vowels
11.51Italian word division—consonants
11.52Italian word division—words containing apostrophes
11.53Italian special characters


11.54Latin capitalization—titles of works
11.55Latin word division—syllables
11.56Latin word division—single consonants
11.57Latin word division—multiple consonants
11.58Latin word division—compounds
11.59Latin special characters


11.60Spanish—additional resources
11.61Spanish capitalization
11.62Spanish question marks and exclamation points
11.63Spanish guillemets and quotation marks
11.64Spanish dialogue
11.65Spanish ellipses
11.66Spanish word division—vowels
11.67Spanish word division—consonants
11.68Dividing Spanish compounds
11.69Spanish special characters

Other Languages Using the Latin Alphabet

11.70Special considerations for other languages using the Latin alphabet

Languages Usually Transliterated (or Romanized)

11.71 Transliteration
In nonspecialized works it is customary to transliterate—that is, convert to the Latin alphabet, or romanize—words or phrases from languages that do not use the Latin alphabet. For discussion and illustration of scores of alphabets, see Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, eds., The World’s Writing Systems (bibliog. 5). For alphabetic conversion, the most comprehensive resource is the Library of Congress publication ALA-LC Romanization Tables(bibliog. 5), available online. Do not attempt to transliterate from a language unfamiliar to you. Note that the recommendations elsewhere in this chapter related to capitalization (11.18), punctuation (11.19), and word division (11.20) for languages that use the Latin alphabet apply equally to transliterated text.

11.72 Character sets for non-Latin alphabets
Modern word-processing software readily allows users to enter words in a number of non-Latin alphabets. For a given alphabet, there may be a variety of non-Unicode character sets available as specialized fonts, but authors who want to include such copy should generally opt for a font that includes the correct Unicode characters if at all possible (see 11.2), after consulting their publisher. See also 2.16.

11.73 Proofreading copy in non-Latin alphabets—a warning
Anyone unfamiliar with a language that uses a non-Latin alphabet should exercise extreme caution in proofreading even single words set in that alphabet. Grave errors can occur when similar characters are mistaken for each other. If in doubt, editors should query the author; it may be advisable to consult the Unicode number and description (see 11.2) when referring to a given character or diacritical mark.

11.74 Diacritics—specialized versus general contexts
Nearly all systems of transliteration require diacritics—including, in the languages discussed below, macrons, underdots, and overdots, to name just a few. Except in linguistic studies or other highly specialized works, a system using as few diacritics as are needed to aid pronunciation is easier on readers, publisher, and author. Most readers of a nonspecialized work on Hindu mythology, for example, will be more comfortable with Shiva than Śiva or with Vishnu than Viṣṇu, though many specialists would want to differentiate the Sh in Shiva from the sh in Vishnu as distinct Sanskrit letters. For nonspecialized works, the transliterated forms without diacritics that are listed in the latest editions of the Merriam-Webster dictionaries (bibliog. 3.1) are usually preferred by readers and authors alike.

11.75 Italics versus roman for transliterated terms
Transliterated terms (other than proper names) that have not become part of the English language are italicized. If used throughout a work, a transliterated term may be italicized on first appearance and then set in roman. Words listed in the dictionary are usually set in roman. See also 11.3–5.


11.76Arabic transliteration
11.77The hamza and the ʿayn
11.78Arabic spelling
11.79The Arabic definite article
11.80Arabic capitalization
11.81Arabic word division

Chinese and Japanese

11.82 Chinese romanization
The Hanyu Pinyin romanization system, introduced in the 1950s, has largely supplanted both the Wade-Giles system and the place-name spellings of the Postal Atlas of China (last updated in the 1930s), making Pinyin the standard system for romanizing Chinese. Representing sounds of Chinese more explicitly, Pinyin has been widely accepted as the system for teaching Chinese as a second language. As of 2000, the Library of Congress issued new romanization guidelines reflecting the conversion of its entire online catalog records for the Chinese collection to comply with Pinyin. Although a few authors, long familiar with Wade-Giles or other older systems (or Tongyong Pinyin, a more recent system still used by some in Taiwan), have not switched to Pinyin in their writings, Chicago joins librarians in urging that Pinyin now be used in all writing about China or the Chinese language. (In some contexts it may be helpful to the reader to add the Wade-Giles spelling of a name or term in parentheses following the first use of the Pinyin spelling.) The ALA-LC Romanization Tables (bibliog. 5) available online from the Library of Congress should be used with caution by anyone unfamiliar with Chinese.

11.83 Exceptions to Pinyin
Even where Pinyin is adopted, certain place-names, personal names, and other proper nouns long familiar in their older forms may be presented that way in English texts. Or, for greater consistency, the old spelling may be added in parentheses after the Pinyin version. If in doubt, consult the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (bibliog. 3.1); names not listed there in older forms should be presented in Pinyin. Editors who wish to alter spellings should do so in consultation with the author.

11.84 Apostrophes, hyphens, and tone marks in Chinese romanization
Pinyin spellings often differ markedly from Wade-Giles and other older spellings. Personal names are usually spelled without apostrophes or hyphens, but an apostrophe is sometimes used when syllables are run together (as in Xi’an to distinguish it from Xian), even in contexts where tone marks are used (e.g., Xī’ān). The Pinyin romanization system of the Library of Congress does not include tone marks, nor are they included in many English-language publications. However, tone marks may be appropriate in certain contexts (e.g., textbooks for learning Chinese).

11.85 Some common Chinese names
Some names frequently encountered are listed below.

The names Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, among a few others, usually retain the old spellings.

11.86 Japanese romanization
The Japanese language in its usual written form is a mixture of Chinese characters (called kanji in Japanese) and two kana syllabaries. (A syllabary is a series of written characters, each used to represent a syllable.) Since romanized Japanese, rōmaji, was introduced into Japan in the sixteenth century, a number of systems of romanization have been developed. The one in most common use since the early part of the Meiji period (1868–1912) is the modified Hepburn (or hyōjun) system. This system is used in Kenkyūsha’s New Japanese–English Dictionary (bibliog. 3.2) and most other Japanese–English dictionaries (and is the basis of the Japanese romanization tables available online from the Library of Congress); outside Japan, it is also used almost exclusively, notably in Asian collections in libraries throughout the world.

11.87 Modified Hepburn system
In the modified Hepburn system, an apostrophe is placed after a syllabic that is followed by a vowel or yGen’eSan’yo. A macron is used over a long vowel (usually an o or a u, though some systems allow for macrons over ai, and e) in all Japanese words except well-known place-names (e.g., Tokyo, Hokkaido, Kobe) and words such as shogun and daimyo that have entered the English language and are thus not italicized. (When the pronunciation of such names or words is important to readers, however, macrons may be used: Tōkyō, Hokkaidō, Kōbe, shōgun, daimyō.) Hyphens should be used sparingly: Meiji jidai-shi (or jidaishino shinkenkyū. Shinjuku-ku (or Shinjukukuno meisho.

11.88 Chinese and Japanese—capitalization and italics
Although capital letters do not exist in Japanese or Chinese, they are introduced in romanized versions of these languages where they would normally be used in English (see chapter 8). Personal names and place-names are capitalized. In hyphenated names, only the first element is capitalized in romanized Chinese, though both elements may be capitalized in Japanese. Common nouns and other words used in an English sentence are lowercased and italicized (see 11.311.5). Names of institutions, schools of thought, religions, and so forth are capitalized if set in roman, lowercased if set in italics.

11.89 Titles of Japanese and Chinese works
As in English, titles of books and periodicals are italicized, and titles of articles are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks (see 8.156–201). The first word of a romanized title is always capitalized, as are many proper nouns (especially in Japanese).

11.90 Inclusion of Chinese and Japanese characters
Chinese and Japanese characters, immediately following the romanized version of the item they represent, are sometimes necessary to help readers identify references cited or terms used. They are largely confined to bibliographies and glossaries. Where needed in running text, they may be enclosed in parentheses. The advent of Unicode has made it easier for authors to include words in non-Latin alphabets in their manuscripts, but publishers need to be alerted of the need for special characters in case particular fonts are needed for publication (see 11.2).


11.91Hebrew transliteration systems
11.92Diacritics in transliterated Hebrew
11.93Hebrew prefixes
11.94Hebrew capitalization and italics
11.95Hebrew word division
11.96Unromanized Hebrew phrases
11.97A note on Hebrew vowels


11.98Russian transliteration
11.99Russian capitalization
11.100Titles of Russian works
11.101Russian quotations and dialogue
11.102Russian ellipses
11.103Russian uses of the dash
11.104Russian word division—general
11.105Combinations not to be divided in Cyrillic transliteration
11.106Division between Russian consonants
11.107Division of Russian words after prefixes or between parts
11.108Division of Russian words after vowel or diphthong

South Asian Languages

11.109South Asian special characters

Classical Greek

11.110Transliterating Greek
11.111Typesetting Greek

Breathings and Accents

11.112Greek breathing marks
11.113Greek accent marks
11.114Unaccented Greek words
11.115Greek vowels

Punctuation and Numbers

11.116Greek punctuation
11.117Greek numbers

Word Division

11.118Greek word division—consecutive vowels
11.119Greek word division—single consonants
11.120Greek word division—two or more consonants
11.121Greek word division—compounds

Old English and Middle English

11.122Special characters in Old and Middle English
11.123Ampersand and wynn
11.124Old English vowels

American Sign Language (ASL)

11.125Signed languages
11.126Components of signs
11.127Writing ASL
11.128Glosses in ASL
11.129Compound signs
11.131Lexicalized signs
11.133Transcriptions of signed sentences
11.134Pronouns, possessives, and reference
11.135Nonmanual signals