How to format your references using the American Family Physician citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for American Family Physician. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Trounson A. Keith H. Campbell (1954-2012). Nature. 2012 Nov 8;491(7423):193.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sheehan MJ, Tibbetts EA. Specialized face learning is associated with individual recognition in paper wasps. Science. 2011 Dec 2;334(6060):1272–5.
A journal article with 3 authors
Palmer MJ, Fukuyama F, Relman DA. SCIENCE GOVERNANCE. A more systematic approach to biological risk. Science. 2015 Dec 18;350(6267):1471–3.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Pangala SR, Enrich-Prast A, Basso LS, Peixoto RB, Bastviken D, Hornibrook ERC, et al. Erratum: Large emissions from floodplain trees close the Amazon methane budget. Nature. 2018 Jan 18;553(7688):366.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Huber PJ. Data Analysis. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
Avanzas P, Clemmensen P, editors. Pharmacological Treatment of Acute Coronary Syndromes. London: Springer; 2014. XVI, 245 p. 24 illus., 12 illus. in color. (Current Cardiovascular Therapy).
A chapter in an edited book
Gaševic D, Djuric D, Devedžic V. Model Driven Engineering. In: Djuric D, Ga¿evic D, editors. Model Driven Engineering and Ontology Development. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2009. p. 125–55.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for American Family Physician.

Blog post
Luntz S. Oldest Multicellular Life Revealed In Detail [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2014 [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. Exchange Programs: Observations on International Educational, Cultural, and Training Exchange Programs. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1993 Mar. Report No.: T-NSIAD-93-7.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Dorsey V. Impact of a family council intervention on owner knowledge and stewardship within a family business [Doctoral dissertation]. [Malibu, CA]: Pepperdine University; 2015.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Kenigsberg B. Review: In ‘Tank 432,’ on the Run, but Stuck in a Morass. New York Times. 2016 Nov 24;C6.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (1).
This sentence cites two references (1,2).
This sentence cites four references (1–4).

About the journal

Full journal titleAmerican Family Physician
ISSN (print)0002-838X
ISSN (online)1532-0650

Other styles