Ever get nervous about formatting citations? Here’s an overview of a few common issues when citing journal articles in often-used styles (APA, AMA, and Chicago)
In most cases, you can easily export citation information from databases like PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, etc. into a reference management system like EndNote. However, you have to be careful about how that data is entered to ensure that your final citations are correct.
When citing a journal article, use the following basic format:
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages. http://dx.doi.org/-----
Here’s an example:
Calabrese, S. K., Earnshaw, V. A., Underhill, K., Hansen, N. B., & Dovidio, J. F. (2014). The impact of patient race on clinical decisions related to prescribing HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Assumptions about sexual risk compensation and implications for access. AIDS and Behavior, 18(2), 226-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-013-0675-x
A few issues can arise when importing citations into EndNote and then printing out your reference list:
- Capitalization in article titles: In APA style, you should capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or dash, and proper nouns. EndNote will not correct this capitalization for you. After importing a citation, if you know you’re using APA style, you can easily navigate to the reference in the side or bottom panel or double click the reference to open a new screen and change the capitalization of the title in the Title field.
- Journal titles should not be abbreviated: Certain databases will provide abbreviated journal titles; however, in APA format, these should be written out fully and punctuation and capitalization should match the title used by the journal (e.g. don’t change "&" to "and" or vice versa).
- Check DOIs and URLs: If the journal has been assigned a DOI, you should present it in the URL form above or as “doi:-----“. Check your references to make sure they don’t appear as doi:http://dx.doi.org/------“. It should be one or the other. If there is no DOI, you should use the URL for the article instead. Check your URLs to make sure they don’t have extra information redirecting you from a database or other source. Long links will clutter your reference list, so find the precise article link.
- Spacing between colons or dashes: When exporting a citation, if you see strange spacing around the title, it will likely be reproduced in your citation. For example, a book or journal article might display as “word : word” or “word / word.” In most cases, you don’t want these spaces, so be cognizant and simply delete the extra spaces in the Title field for the reference.
The general format for AMA style for journal articles is:
Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title. Journal Abbreviation. year;volume number(issue number):pages. doi:----
You may be required to include “Accessed [Month day, year]” at the end depending on where you’re submitting your work.
If you cite the same article using the AMA style, you should use:
Calabrese SK, Earnshaw VA, Underhill K, Hansen NB, Dovidio JF. The impact of patient race on clinical decisions related to prescribing HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): assumptions about sexual risk compensation and implications for access. AIDS Behav. 2014;18(2):226-240. doi: 10.1007/s10461-013-0675-x
Issues 1, 3, and 4 discussed with APA Style formatting (above) might still be issues for you with AMA. However, remember:
- Subtitles in AMA are not capitalized. You can make these changes yourself in the Title field of the reference.
- Titles should be abbreviated in AMA according to the National Library of Medicine’s list of abbreviations. If your reference manager doesn’t abbreviate the journal title for you, you can change it yourself in the Journal field of the reference. To quickly find a journal title abbreviation, use LocatorPlus and search by “Journal Title.”
When using Chicago style, you might use paranthetical citations or notes, followed by a bibliography at the end. These elements will depend on where you are submitting your work. Inclusion of date accessed information will also depend on where you submit.
The note format for journal articles is as follows:
Author Name, “Article Title,” Journal Title, volume number, no. issue number (year): pages, accessed [Month day, year], doi:-----
The commas would become periods (except after volume number) for the bibliographic entry, and all authors are listed in the bibliography with the first author’s name inverted (i.e. last name first).
Here are the citations using our previous example article:
Calabrese, Sarah K., Valerie A. Earnshaw, Kristen Underhill, Nathan B. Hansen, and John F. Dovidio. “The Impact of Patient Race on Clinical Decisions Related to Prescribing HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): Assumptions About Sexual Risk Compensation and Implications for Access.” AIDS and Behavior. 18, no. 2 (2014): 226-240. doi: 10.1007/s10461-013-0675-x
Sarah K. Calabrese, et al, “The Impact of Patient Race on Clinical Decisions Related to Prescribing HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): Assumptions About Sexual Risk Compensation and Implications for Access,” AIDS and Behavior, 18, no. 2 (2014): 229, doi: 10.1007/s10461-013-0675-x
When using Chicago style, as with APA and AMA, it’s important to check URLs and DOIs to make sure that they work, that they’re in the most direct form, and that there’s no redundancy.
You might have issues in EndNote with Chicago style when an abbreviation should be capitalized, such as “HIV” in the example above. EndNote should add capitalization for you in the titles, but it might change your abbreviations as well. You might also have to manually add notes or parentheticals in your document depending on which you decide to use.
These are some common issues that might occur; however, there could be other issues from the way the data is exported from databases. So make sure to always check over your bibliography even if you’re using EndNote or another reference manager.
Note: You should use the formatting features in Microsoft Word to add a hanging indent for your citations.