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
Lu, P. J. 2004. “Early Precision Compound Machine from Ancient China.” Science (New York, N.Y.), 304(5677): 1638.
A journal article with 2 authors
Braithwaite, J. and H. C. Spruit. 2004. “A Fossil Origin for the Magnetic Field in A Stars and White Dwarfs.” Nature, 431(7010): 819–821.
A journal article with 3 authors
Basch, M. L., M. Bronner-Fraser, and M. I. García-Castro. 2006. “Specification of the Neural Crest Occurs during Gastrulation and Requires Pax7.” Nature, 441(7090): 218–222.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Ahmadi, S., U. Muth-Selbach, A. Lauterbach, P. Lipfert, W. L. Neuhuber, and H. U. Zeilhofer. 2003. “Facilitation of Spinal NMDA Receptor Currents by Spillover of Synaptically Released Glycine.” Science (New York, N.Y.), 300(5628): 2094–2097.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Stenholm, S. and K.-A. Suominen. 2005. Quantum Approach to Informatics, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Krishnaraj, V. 2013. Drilling of Polymer-Matrix Composites edited by R. Zitoune and J. P. Davim, SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Fujimoto, S., A. Ishikawa, T. Mizuno, and T. Watanabe. 2015. “Are Firms That Are Awarded More Patents More Productive?” In Econophysics and Data Driven Modelling of Market Dynamics, edited by F. Abergel, H. Aoyama, B. K. Chakrabarti, A. Chakraborti, and A. Ghosh, New Economic Windows, pp. 129–142. 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. “Could Civilization Survive A Nuclear Winter?,” 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. 2012. “Kachemak Bay Ferry: Federally Funded Ferry Was Constructed with Limited Oversight and Faces Future Operating Challenges,” GAO-12-559, 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
Yasar, K. 2009. Electrified Voices: Media Technology and Discourse in Modern Japan. Doctoral dissertation. New York, NY: Columbia 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
Kishkovsky, S. 1998. “With a New Western Arrival, Moscow Rocks.” New York Times: 235.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Lu 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Lu 2004; Braithwaite and Spruit 2004).

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

  • Two authors: (Braithwaite and Spruit 2004)
  • Three authors: (Basch, Bronner-Fraser, and García-Castro 2006)
  • 4 or more authors: (Ahmadi et al. 2003)

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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