How to format your references using the The British Journal of Sociology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The British Journal of Sociology. 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
Helmuth, L. 2000 ‘NEUROSCIENCE: Where the Brain Monitors the Body’, Science (New York, N.Y.) 290(5497): p.1668a.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kessler, A. and Baldwin, I.T. 2001 ‘Defensive function of herbivore-induced plant volatile emissions in nature’, Science (New York, N.Y.) 291(5511): p.2141–2144.
A journal article with 3 authors
Winston, W.M., Molodowitch, C. and Hunter, C.P. 2002 ‘Systemic RNAi in C. elegans requires the putative transmembrane protein SID-1’, Science (New York, N.Y.) 295(5564): p.2456–2459.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Venteicher, A.S., Abreu, E.B., Meng, Z., McCann, K.E., Terns, R.M., Veenstra, T.D., Terns, M.P. and Artandi, S.E. 2009 ‘A human telomerase holoenzyme protein required for Cajal body localization and telomere synthesis’, Science (New York, N.Y.) 323(5914): p.644–648.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Benslama, M., Batatia, H. and Messai, A. 2016 Transitions from Digital Communications to Quantum Communications, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Law, N. 2011 Educational Innovations Beyond Technology: Nurturing Leadership and Establishing Learning Organizations A. Yuen and R. Fox (eds), Boston, MA: Springer US.
A chapter in an edited book
Lusk, E. 2009 ‘Using MPI to Implement Scalable Libraries’ in M. Ropo, J. Westerholm, and J. Dongarra (eds) Recent Advances in Parallel Virtual Machine and Message Passing Interface: 16th European PVM/MPI Users’ Group Meeting, Espoo, Finland, September 7-10, 2009. Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Berlin, Heidelberg: 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 The British Journal of Sociology.

Blog post
Fang, J. 2015 ‘Why Some Female Birds Are Just As Colorful As The Males’, IFLScience. Available at: [Accessed October 30, 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 1989 Trainer Aircraft: Plans to Replace the Existing Fleet, Washington, DC: 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
Ryan, H.L. 2009 Normalizing happiness: The rhetoric of depression in Direct -to -Consumer advertising. Doctoral dissertation. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona.

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
Burghardt, L.F. 2006 ‘An Animal Sanctuary Is Under Pressure to Move’, New York Times: p.14NJ6.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Helmuth 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Helmuth 2000; Kessler and Baldwin 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (Kessler and Baldwin 2001)
  • Three authors: (Winston, Molodowitch and Hunter 2002)
  • 4 or more authors: (Venteicher et al. 2009)

About the journal

Full journal titleThe British Journal of Sociology
AbbreviationBr. J. Sociol.
ISSN (print)0007-1315
ISSN (online)1468-4446
ScopeSociology and Political Science

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