How to format your references using the Journal of Second Language Writing citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Journal of Second Language Writing. 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
Spurgeon, D. (2003). Canada boosts spending on science. Nature, 421(6926), 880.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wang, G., & Or, D. (2014). Trophic interactions induce spatial self-organization of microbial consortia on rough surfaces. Scientific Reports, 4, 6757.
A journal article with 3 authors
Gravina, B., Mellars, P., & Ramsey, C. B. (2005). Radiocarbon dating of interstratified Neanderthal and early modern human occupations at the Chatelperronian type-site. Nature, 438(7064), 51–56.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Mendez, R., Hake, L. E., Andresson, T., Littlepage, L. E., Ruderman, J. V., & Richter, J. D. (2000). Phosphorylation of CPE binding factor by Eg2 regulates translation of c-mos mRNA. Nature, 404(6775), 302–307.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Heckman, R. (2016). Designing Platform Independent Mobile Apps and Services. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Ziviani, N., & Baeza-Yates, R. (Eds.). (2007). String Processing and Information Retrieval: 14th International Symposium, SPIRE 2007 Santiago, Chile, October 29-31, 2007 Proceedings (Vol. 4726). Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Adhikari, A., & Adhikari, J. (2015). Mining Association Rules Induced by Item and Quantity Purchased. In J. Adhikari (Ed.), Advances in Knowledge Discovery in Databases (pp. 73–82). 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 Journal of Second Language Writing.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2015, April 20). Let The People Decide New Place Names On Mercury And Pluto. 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). Best Practices: Elements Critical to Successfully Reducing Unneeded RDT&E Infrastructure (NSIAD/RCED-98-23). 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
DeLaney, B. (2015). Youth center for improving health and wellness [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
Turkewitz, J., Fernandez, M., & Blinder, A. (2017, August 28). Deadly Storm Transforms Houston Streets Into Raging Rivers. New York Times, A1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Spurgeon, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Spurgeon, 2003; Wang & Or, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Wang & Or, 2014)
  • Three authors: (Gravina et al., 2005)
  • 6 or more authors: (Mendez et al., 2000)

About the journal

Full journal titleJournal of Second Language Writing
AbbreviationJ. Second Lang. Writ.
ISSN (print)1060-3743
ScopeLanguage and Linguistics
Linguistics and Language

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