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
Teichert S. Hollow rhodoliths increase Svalbard’s shelf biodiversity. Sci Rep. 2014 Nov 10;4:6972.
A journal article with 2 authors
Eeva T, Lehikoinen E. Recovery of breeding success in wild birds. Nature. 2000 Feb 24;403(6772):851–2.
A journal article with 3 authors
Prospero JM, Bullard JE, Hodgkins R. High-latitude dust over the North Atlantic: inputs from Icelandic proglacial dust storms. Science. 2012 Mar 2;335(6072):1078–82.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Tan HL, Kupershmidt S, Zhang R, Stepanovic S, Roden DM, Wilde AAM, et al. A calcium sensor in the sodium channel modulates cardiac excitability. Nature. 2002 Jan 24;415(6870):442–7.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Matlock MD, Morgan RA. Ecological Engineering Design. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
Wang J. Human Action Recognition with Depth Cameras. Liu Z, Wu Y, editors. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2014. VIII, 59 p. 32 illus., 9 illus. in color. (SpringerBriefs in Computer Science).
A chapter in an edited book
McTear M. Handling Miscommunication: Why Bother? In: Dybkjær L, Minker W, editors. Recent Trends in Discourse and Dialogue. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2008. p. 101–22. (Text, Speech and Language Technology).

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
Andrew E. Activists Misuse Open Records Requests To Harass Researchers [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2015 [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. CETA Programs for Disadvantaged Adults: What Do We Know About Their Enrollees, Services, and Effectiveness. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1982 Jun. Report No.: IPE-82-2.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Abdeljaber SR. High school mathematics teachers’ perceptions of mathematics education in northwest Florida [Doctoral dissertation]. [Phoenix, AZ]: University of Phoenix; 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
Vecsey G. Accountability Would Seem to Begin and End With Referees. New York Times. 2011 Mar 12;D3.

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