How to format your references using the English for Specific Purposes citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for English for Specific Purposes. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Bowles, S. (2009). Did warfare among ancestral hunter-gatherers affect the evolution of human social behaviors? Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5932), 1293–1298.
A journal article with 2 authors
Jin, X., & Costa, R. M. (2010). Start/stop signals emerge in nigrostriatal circuits during sequence learning. Nature, 466(7305), 457–462.
A journal article with 3 authors
Groisman, A., Enzelberger, M., & Quake, S. R. (2003). Microfluidic memory and control devices. Science (New York, N.Y.), 300(5621), 955–958.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Zhang, J., Zhao, Y., Zhao, X., Liu, Z., & Chen, W. (2014). Porous perovskite LaNiO3 nanocubes as cathode catalysts for Li-O2 batteries with low charge potential. Scientific Reports, 4, 6005.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Cumming, D. (2010). Private Equity. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Wheeler, D. L., & Yarden, Y. (Eds.). (2015). Receptor Tyrosine Kinases: Structure, Functions and Role in Human Disease. Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Hatami-Marbini, H., & Mofrad, M. R. K. (2015). Rheology and Mechanics of the Cytoskeleton. In S. E. Spagnolie (Ed.), Complex Fluids in Biological Systems: Experiment, Theory, and Computation (pp. 187–205). Springer.

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 English for Specific Purposes.

Blog post
Fang, J. (2015, March 13). Teenage Pot Users Show Poor Long-Term Memory as Adults. IFLScience; IFLScience.


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. (1998). FCC: Installment Payment Financing for Personal Communications Services Licensees (OGC-99-3). U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Parker, E. C. (2010). Perceptions of youth with diabetes and their parents/guardians about youth eating habits and nutrition-related difficulties [Doctoral dissertation]. California State University, Long Beach.

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
Quain, J. R. (2017, July 27). Your Car Is Keeping Tabs on You. So Who’s It Tattling To? New York Times, B4.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Bowles, 2009).
This sentence cites two references (Bowles, 2009; Jin & Costa, 2010).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Jin & Costa, 2010)
  • Three authors: (Groisman et al., 2003)
  • 6 or more authors: (Zhang et al., 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleEnglish for Specific Purposes
ISSN (print)0889-4906

Other styles