Available for purchase in print and as an e-book
A classic handbook for collegiate writers, the "Turabian" is now it its eighth edition and is available for purchase in print and as an e-book. The text itself is broken into three sections:
Part I: Research and Writing: from planning to production
This section covers the basics of how to structure your research project, how to select a topic, how to transform that topic into a thesis, how to structure arguments, where to use quotations and how to use them without plagiarizing, how to edit...and re-edit...and proofread...and edit again, and other important tasks necessary to successful research and writing. When you're writing a paper that's supposed to be fifteen pages long, but is stuck at ten pages (or overflowing at twenty pages), your research methods are producing the same five marginally useful sources over and over again, or you think you've written a thesis statement but your professor begs to differ - consult this portion of Turabian and GET THE HELP YOU NEED!
Part II: Source Citation
Need to know how to cite a live performance you attended last week? A journal article that runs from pages 10-30 and then skips to pages 41-45? How to cite a source in a bibliography vs. a foot- or endnote? How to cite print sources vs. websites and sources in online databases? This is the section for you! The text walks you through the various elements of a given source citation (e.g., author, title, publication info, etc.) and then there are a couple of sample citations you can use as models for your own citations.
I usually have a series of Post-it flags stuck to certain source types (books, articles, dissertations) so I can quickly find them quickly without having to flip through the pages or the index. If you can't find a particular source type in the Turabian, check with its bigger sibling, the Chicago Manual of Style, to find the desired source type and accompanying citation example.
Part III: Style
While getting your citations in order is of utmost importance, there are other document elements that require equal attentiveness. This section of Turabian explains elements of writing and document style, including how to use punctuation (solve the mystery of semicolon usage!), whether that title should be italicized or placed in quotation marks, how to insert and label tables, figures, and images into your document, etc.