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Citation Style Guide

This guide was created to provide basic instruction on commonly-used citation styles across the faculties of Dalhousie University.


The CSE style originated in the 1960s, when it was known as the Council of Biology Editors (CBE) style. It was intended to provide style and format guidelines for editors of peer-reviewed biology journals. Over the decades, its scope grew to include many fields of scientific research in both the life sciences and physical sciences. In 2000, the organization became known as the Council of Science Editors (CSE). The style then became known as the CSE style. 

In a reference list prepared in CSE style:

  • journal titles are abbreviated, but no periods are used in the abbreviation. (eg. J Exp Biol)
  • author initials (without periods) are used instead of the author’s given names
  • lhe last author name within a reference is connected to the others by a comma instead of using the word “and” or an ampersand (“&”).
  • references are formatted using a “hanging” indent.

CSE style allows you to select from one of three systems to cite sources:

  • Citation-Name: Uses superscript numerals to identify in-text citations. In the alphabetized reference list, each numeral corresponds with a unique reference.
  • Citation-Sequence: Uses superscript numerals to identify in-text citations. In the reference list, sources are numbered sequentially by the order in which they appear in the text (so they may not be in alphabetical order by author).
  • Name-Year: Uses parenthetical in-text citations that include author name and the year of publication. The reference list is ordered alphabetically by author name. 



Each in-text citation must be associated with an item in a comprehensive list of references at the end of your paper.  Pay attention to your formatting when constructing your reference list. While CSE is not as particular as other citation styles, losing points on an assignment for poorly formatted citations is easily avoided. 


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Thanks to Michelle Paon for help creating content for this page!