How to format your references using the Families, Systems, & Health citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Families, Systems, & Health. 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
Dholakia, K. (2009). Journal club. An optical physicist sees beyond fluorescent labels. Nature, 457(7233), 1061.
A journal article with 2 authors
Moreno, N. P., & Erdmann, D. B. (2010). SPORE: Science Prize for Online Resources in Education. Addressing science teacher needs. Science (New York, N.Y.), 327(5973), 1589–1590.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kessler, D., Gase, K., & Baldwin, I. T. (2008). Field experiments with transformed plants reveal the sense of floral scents. Science (New York, N.Y.), 321(5893), 1200–1202.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Gagneux, S., Long, C. D., Small, P. M., Van, T., Schoolnik, G. K., & Bohannan, B. J. M. (2006). The competitive cost of antibiotic resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Science (New York, N.Y.), 312(5782), 1944–1946.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Parker, J. S., & Anderson, R. L. (2014). Low-Energy Lunar Trajectory Design. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Maña, A. (2006). Developing Ambient Intelligence: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Ambient Intelligence Developments (AmID’06) (V. Lotz, Ed.). Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Guruzu, S., Xu, G., & Liang, H. (2006). Friction-Induced Nucleation of Nanocrystals. In T.-J. Chuang, P. M. Anderson, M.-K. Wu, & S. Hsieh (Eds.), Nanomechanics of Materials and Structures (pp. 45–54). Springer Netherlands.

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 Families, Systems, & Health.

Blog post
Hamilton, K. (2017, March 29). How Dogs Could Make Children Better Readers. 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. (1983). New or Renovated Warehouse Space Provided Under Extended Storage Agreements (RCED-84-49). 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
Dobbs, J. (2017). The Potential Use of PEI Modified Biochar for Different Environmental Applications [Doctoral dissertation]. Mississippi State University.

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
Yee, V. (2015, May 15). Eight Passengers’ Deaths Echo Across the Region and the World. New York Times, A20.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Dholakia, 2009).
This sentence cites two references (Dholakia, 2009; Moreno & Erdmann, 2010).

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

  • Two authors: (Moreno & Erdmann, 2010)
  • Three authors: (Kessler et al., 2008)
  • 6 or more authors: (Gagneux et al., 2006)

About the journal

Full journal titleFamilies, Systems, & Health
AbbreviationFam. Syst. Health
ISSN (print)1091-7527
ISSN (online)1939-0602
ScopePsychiatry and Mental health
Applied Psychology

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