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
Murray TH (2014) Genetics. Stirring the simmering “designer baby” pot. Science 343:1208–1210
A journal article with 2 authors
Bradshaw GA, Finlay BL (2005) Natural symmetry. Nature 435:149
A journal article with 3 authors
Yang G, Pan F, Gan W-B (2009) Stably maintained dendritic spines are associated with lifelong memories. Nature 462:920–924
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Liu D, Vader G, Vromans MJM, et al (2009) Sensing chromosome bi-orientation by spatial separation of aurora B kinase from kinetochore substrates. Science 323:1350–1353

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Liu J, Dong X, Chen X, et al (2016) Fault Location and Service Restoration for Electrical Distribution Systems. John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd, Singapore
An edited book
Lennarčič J, Roth B (eds) (2006) Advances in Robot Kinematics: Mechanisms and Motion. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
A chapter in an edited book
Forciea MA, Yudin J (2008) Home-Based Care of the Older Patient. In: Pignolo RJ, Crane MK, Forciea MA (eds) Classic Papers in Geriatric Medicine with Current Commentaries. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, pp 27–32

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 D (2016) First Working Eggs Made From Stem Cells Points To Fertility Breakthrough. 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) NASA Personnel: Shortages of Scientists and Engineers Due to Retirements Unlikely in the 1990s. 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
Caverly RS (2010) Marketing masculinity: Male identity, boy culture, and the Boy Scouts of America 1900–1940. 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
Donohue JJ Iii, Schoening M (2017) The Grim Reaper of Alabama. New York Times A17

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Murray 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Bradshaw and Finlay 2005; Murray 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Bradshaw and Finlay 2005)
  • Three or more authors: (Liu et al. 2009)

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