Using the CBE Writing Style

It is commonplace for writers in the fields of science – e.g. biologists, chemists, and other science specialists - to use the CBE style of writing to create various texts. There are different writing styles available to explain what sources of information are used within a paper and in bibliographies. The CBE writing style uses a name/year system and some of its key features include:

  • Cited material is parenthesized within the text;
  • Citations appear in sentences that contain references and before the final punctuation mark.
  • The primary elements of an in-text citation are an author’s surname and publication year;
  • A space is used to separate the two pieces of information.

How to Cite Authors

If a sentence contains the author’s surname, you need only show the year of publication in parentheses.

If there are two authors for a particular piece of work, your citation will need to list the names of both authors with the word “and” separating the names.

If a particular piece of work can be attributed to three authors or even more, mention the name of the first creator or author in your citation and follow this with the expression “et al.”

If you cite two works that were published in the same year and the authors of those works share the same last name, use their initials to distinguish between them in your citation. Commas or periods are not used in cases of “same surnames” and initials should not be separated with a space.

If you cite two or more pieces of work from the same year and by the one author, you should distinguish these by adding a lowercase letter (e.g. “a” to the first work published in that year and “b” to the second work). Modify the publication dates in your works-cited page in an identical manner.

Where a work is authored by a corporate organization or government agency, create a shorter form of the authoring body’s name using the organization’s or agency’s initials. If an organization or agency already has a recognizable abbreviated or shortened name, use that in your citation.

Create a corresponding entry for the citation in your works-cited page by adding the shortened version (or initials) of the author’s name in square brackets before the reference.

Where a given work has no known author, it should be denoted within the text with the initials or initial words of the work’s title with an ellipsis in the place where the author’s name would normally be shown.

Choose only the number of words you think are required to differentiate this citation from other work you are referencing.

Correct Use of Dates

Where there is no identifiable date of publication for a work, a copyright date may be used. This type of date is preceded by a “c” to show its nature. If there are no publication or copyright dates available, it is permissible to use the last date a piece of work was revised, modified or updated, but precede the citation with the appropriate indicator e.g. “rev,” “modified,” or “updated” in square brackets and divided by a space. It is permissible to use the expression “[date unknown]” in cases where a date is not available. Use identical notation when listing these types of references in your works-cited page.

It is permissible to refer to numerous works in one citation when one is using the Name-Year referencing system.

If you are citing a number of different works that have been authored by different people, list your references in chronological order separated by semicolons and in single parentheses. If you need to cite the same author a number of times, you only need to use that author’s name once and list the years of publication - separated by commas - in chronological order.

You may find these beneficial:

The MLA Style Turabian Style of Citation Harvard Style Writing Chicago Style of Citation

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