How to format your references using the Health Services Research citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Health Services Research. 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
Hoy, R. R. 2012. “Evolution. Convergent Evolution of Hearing.” Science (New York, N.Y.), 338(6109): 894–895.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bruick, R. K. and S. L. McKnight. 2001. “A Conserved Family of Prolyl-4-Hydroxylases That Modify HIF.” Science (New York, N.Y.), 294(5545): 1337–1340.
A journal article with 3 authors
Mizutani, A., J. S. Chahl, and M. V. Srinivasan. 2003. “Insect Behaviour: Motion Camouflage in Dragonflies.” Nature, 423(6940): 604.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Pellikka, M., G. Tanentzapf, M. Pinto, C. Smith, C. J. McGlade, D. F. Ready, and U. Tepass. 2002. “Crumbs, the Drosophila Homologue of Human CRB1/RP12, Is Essential for Photoreceptor Morphogenesis.” Nature, 416(6877): 143–149.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Häberlin, H. 2012. Photovoltaics, Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Ebashi, S. and I. Ohtsuki eds. 2007. Regulatory Mechanisms of Striated Muscle Contraction, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Tokyo: Springer Japan.
A chapter in an edited book
Corrigan, O., A. F. Smeaton, M. Glynn, and S. Smyth. 2015. “Using Educational Analytics to Improve Test Performance.” In Design for Teaching and Learning in a Networked World: 10th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2015, Toledo, Spain, September 15-18, 2015, Proceedings, edited by G. Conole, T. Klobučar, C. Rensing, J. Konert, and E. Lavoué, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 42–55. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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 Health Services Research.

Blog post
Hale, T. 2016. “Check Out This Remote Control SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Nail Its Landing,” IFLScience, IFLScience [accessed on October 30, 2018]. Available at:


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. 1969. “Use of Fixed-Price Contracts for the Procurement of Studies and Investigations of Research and Development Matters,” 092660, Washington, DC: 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
Sexton, S. M. 2017. Progress Toward Analytic Predictions of Supersonic Hydrocarbon-Air Combustion: Computation of Ignition Times and Supersonic Mixing Layers. Doctoral dissertation. La Jolla, CA: University of California San Diego.

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
Shpigel, B. 2016. “Taking Twisted Turns.” New York Times: SP7.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Hoy 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Hoy 2012; Bruick and McKnight 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (Bruick and McKnight 2001)
  • Three authors: (Mizutani, Chahl, and Srinivasan 2003)
  • 4 or more authors: (Pellikka et al. 2002)

About the journal

Full journal titleHealth Services Research
AbbreviationHealth Serv. Res.
ISSN (print)0017-9124
ISSN (online)1475-6773
ScopeHealth Policy

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