How to format your references using the Learning and Motivation citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Learning and Motivation. 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
Lewis, S. L. (2012). We must set planetary boundaries wisely. Nature, 485(7399), 417.
A journal article with 2 authors
Dagan, T., & Martin, W. (2009). Microbiology. Seeing green and red in diatom genomes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5935), 1651–1652.
A journal article with 3 authors
Shi, Y., Tyson, G. W., & DeLong, E. F. (2009). Metatranscriptomics reveals unique microbial small RNAs in the ocean’s water column. Nature, 459(7244), 266–269.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Womelsdorf, T., Schoffelen, J.-M., Oostenveld, R., Singer, W., Desimone, R., Engel, A. K., & Fries, P. (2007). Modulation of neuronal interactions through neuronal synchronization. Science (New York, N.Y.), 316(5831), 1609–1612.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Démoulin, B., & Besnier, P. (2011). Electromagnetic Reverberation Chambers. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Carsrud, A. L., & Brännback, M. (Eds.). (2009). Understanding the Entrepreneurial Mind: Opening the Black Box (Vol. 24). Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Li, S. E., & Deng, K. (2014). Recent Advances in Nonsingular Terminal Sliding Mode Control Method. In L. Liu, Q. Zhu, L. Cheng, Y. Wang, & D. Zhao (Eds.), Applied Methods and Techniques for Mechatronic Systems: Modelling, Identification and Control (pp. 79–97). 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 Learning and Motivation.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2015, July 22). Brian Cox Has A Hilarious Message For All Moon Landing Conspiracy Theorists. 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. (1970). Savings Possible by Buying Automatic Data Processing Equipment or by Leasing It From Commercial Leasing Firms (B-114829). 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
Le, C. T. (2013). Academic performance of college students as related to depression from stress [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
Baker, P. (2017, November 1). President Assails ‘Joke’ Justice And Seeks Visa Program’s End. 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 (Lewis, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Dagan & Martin, 2009; Lewis, 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Dagan & Martin, 2009)
  • Three authors: (Shi et al., 2009)
  • 6 or more authors: (Womelsdorf et al., 2007)

About the journal

Full journal titleLearning and Motivation
AbbreviationLearn. Motiv.
ISSN (print)0023-9690
ScopeDevelopmental and Educational Psychology
Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
Health(social science)

Other styles