How to format your references using the Systemic Practice and Action Research citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Systemic Practice and Action 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.
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
Stern A (2010) Non-Abelian states of matter. Nature 464:187–193
A journal article with 2 authors
Ezenwa VO, Jolles AE (2015) Epidemiology. Opposite effects of anthelmintic treatment on microbial infection at individual versus population scales. Science 347:175–177
A journal article with 3 authors
Mookherjee M, Stixrude L, Karki B (2008) Hydrous silicate melt at high pressure. Nature 452:983–986
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Li P, Burke S, Wang J, et al (2010) Reprogramming of T cells to natural killer-like cells upon Bcl11b deletion. Science 329:85–89

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Broome J (2017) Weighing Goods. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK
An edited book
Hansen LJ (2011) Climate Savvy: Adapting Conservation and Resource Management to a Changing World. Island Press/Center for Resource Economics, Washington, DC
A chapter in an edited book
Stival C, Puga Molina L del C, Paudel B, et al (2016) Sperm Capacitation and Acrosome Reaction in Mammalian Sperm. In: Buffone MG (ed) Sperm Acrosome Biogenesis and Function During Fertilization. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 93–106

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 Systemic Practice and Action Research.

Blog post
Andrew E (2014) There Will Be 5 Planets Visible In June, Here’s How To See Them. In: IFLScience. Accessed 30 Oct 2018


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 (1991) Titan IV Launch Vehicle: Restructured Program Could Reduce Fiscal Year 1992 Funding Needs. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Sutherland KA (2009) The impact of early childhood programs on student achievement. Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood 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
Kelly M (1993) Hillary Clinton Rejects Delay in Health Plan. New York Times B12

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Stern 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Stern 2010; Ezenwa and Jolles 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Ezenwa and Jolles 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Li et al. 2010)

About the journal

Full journal titleSystemic Practice and Action Research
AbbreviationSyst. Pract. Action Res.
ISSN (print)1094-429X
ISSN (online)1573-9295
ScopeManagement of Technology and Innovation
Strategy and Management

Other styles