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
Willyard C (2011) Lifestyle: Breaking the cancer habit. Nature 471:S16-7
A journal article with 2 authors
Abrahamsen H, Stenmark H (2011) Cell biology. Growth signaling from inside. Science 334:611–612
A journal article with 3 authors
Yin J, Yang X, Zheng Y (2014) Influence of increasing combustion temperature on the AMS 14C dating of modern crop phytoliths. Sci Rep 4:6511
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Yin P, Choi HMT, Calvert CR, Pierce NA (2008) Programming biomolecular self-assembly pathways. Nature 451:318–322

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Strohfeldt KA (2015) Essentials of Inorganic Chemistry. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK
An edited book
Hildebrandt M, Gaakeer J (eds) (2013) Human Law and Computer Law: Comparative Perspectives. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
A chapter in an edited book
Xie X, Yeo SY, Mirmehdi M, et al (2013) Image Gradient Based Level Set Methods in 2D and 3D. In: González Hidalgo M, Mir Torres A, Varona Gómez J (eds) Deformation Models: Tracking, Animation and Applications. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 101–120

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 (2015) Never Mind The Selfish Gene – Ribosomes Are The Missing Link. 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 (1974) Examination of Grants Awarded to the Berkeley Unified School District and to Bilingual Children’s Television, Inc. 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
Dubin-Thaler BJ (2008) Evidence for hierarchical control of conserved, discrete motility types in crawling motility. Doctoral dissertation, 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
Harris EA, Moynihan C (2014) Brooklyn Teacher Is Accused of Abusing Girls for 3 Years. 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 (Willyard 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Willyard 2011; Abrahamsen and Stenmark 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Abrahamsen and Stenmark 2011)
  • Three or more authors: (Yin et al. 2008)

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