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
Schrope M. Listing resumes for species at risk. Nature. 2001 Sep 6;413(6851):7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Campbell P, Grayson M. Assessing science. Nature. 2014 Jul 24;511(7510):S49.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bishop JR, Schuksz M, Esko JD. Heparan sulphate proteoglycans fine-tune mammalian physiology. Nature. 2007 Apr 26;446(7139):1030–7.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Zhang T, Qian G, Wang Y-Y, Xue X-J, Shan F, Li R-Z, et al. Integrated optical gyroscope using active long-range surface plasmon-polariton waveguide resonator. Sci Rep. 2014 Jan 24;4:3855.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lombard M. SolidWorks® 2011 Parts Bible. Indianapolis, IN, USA: Wiley Publishing, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
Aja-Fernández S. Statistical Analysis of Noise in MRI: Modeling, Filtering and Estimation. Vegas-Sánchez-Ferrero G, editor. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2016. XXI, 327 p. 172 illus., 99 illus. in color.
A chapter in an edited book
Tanifuji M, Sato T, Uchida G, Yamane Y, Tsunoda K. How Images of Objects Are Represented in Macaque Inferotemporal Cortex. In: Roe AW, editor. Imaging the Brain with Optical Methods. New York, NY: Springer; 2010. p. 93–117.

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
Carpineti A. New Fossil Suggests More Variety Among The Oldest Extinct Penguins [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2017 [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. Highway Safety: NHTSA’s Activities Concerning State Motorcycle Helmet Laws. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1997 Jun. Report No.: RCED-97-185R.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Gerhart T. Convex optimization techniques and their application in hyperspectral video processing [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 2013.

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
Billard M. Walking in Paint-Spattered Footsteps. New York Times. 2014 Jan 16;E6.

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