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There are already a couple of great suggestions on how you should reference articles. These have been summarized by Ben in one all encompassing answer.

From this another question arose how to properly format these references, particularly how to format the reference list at then end of an answer.

I suggest the following approach:

  • Up/down vote this question in order to reflect your opinion on whether we need a formatting style.
  • Post suggested formatting styles as an answer, using the actual content of the following answer, applying the formatting of your preference.
  • Up/down vote the answers which represent the formatting you like.

From wikipedia:

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation. [ 2]

Neher (1991, FREE PDF) summarises and critically evaluates the theory. From the abstract:

This critique of Maslow's theory of motivation examines all of its major components. The theory is summarized and its basic propositions are analyzed in the light of internal logic, other relevant theories, and related research. This examination points up many deficiencies in Maslow's theory, which enjoys wide acceptance, especially among humanistic psychologists. Suggestions are made regarding modifications to the theory that would remedy many of its more serious problems but at the same time preserve its perceptive insights.

The lack of empirical evidence was already discussed in an older article by Wahba et al. (1976).

The uncritical acceptance of Maslow's need hierarchy theory despite the lack of empirical evidence is discussed and the need for a review of recent empirical evidence is emphasized. A review of ten factor-analytic and three ranking studies testing Maslow's theory showed only partial support for the concept of need hierarchy. A large number of cross-sectional studies showed no clear evidence for Maslow's deprivation/domination proposition except with regard to self-actualization. Longitudinal studies testing Maslow's gratification/activation proposition showed no support, and the limited support received from cross-sectional studies is questionable due to numerous measurement problems. The difficulties with testing the theory are discussed and the conceptual, methodological, and measurement problems of the studies reviewed are detailed. The implications of the findings and future directions for research are outlined.

References

Neher, A. (1991). Maslow's theory of motivation: A critique. Journal of Humanistic Psycholgoy, 31, 3. FREE PDF

Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory (1976), or a free pdf scan here

The content of this example answer was shamelessly copied from two answers to a real CogSci question.

  • we should ask people to format references clearly (I suspect most will use something resembling APA because they are familiar with it), but having an official policy will cause needless editing of decent questions and answers. – Artem Kaznatcheev Feb 11 '12 at 0:30
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    @ArtemKaznatcheev I think for a site attempting to court academics (and in general) it makes much more sense to specify and maintain a specific structure for references (which will be in the majority of answers) – Ben Brocka Feb 11 '12 at 0:52
  • @BenBrocka cstheory has successfully courted academics and it does not enforce a citation style. I don't think academics care all that much about a consistent citation style (I know I don't) but they care about the quality of questions and answers. – Artem Kaznatcheev Feb 11 '12 at 1:03
  • Also, it's currently framed as an encouraged style; if anyone is willing to take the time to edit other people's questions or answers to improve the referencing, that sounds great to me. If people don't provide thorough references, the answer can still be good. – Jeromy Anglim Feb 11 '12 at 13:45
  • Another way to move forward on this is to also discuss particular issues related to referencing and then absorb these decisions into Ben's overall answer. – Jeromy Anglim Feb 11 '12 at 13:46
  • @JeromyAnglim: I agree we should first wait a while until we have reached a consensus (as far is possible on meta) on Ben's answer before starting to edit answers to reflect this post. This question is meant solely to address the formatting issues. – Steven Jeuris Feb 11 '12 at 14:40
  • Furthermore, because we establish a preferred style, doesn't mean you are supposed to go through our history of posts and start editing all of them. We inherit standard editing guidelines from the SE network. I'll clarify this in this question and start a new post related to editing guidelines specific to our site. – Steven Jeuris Feb 11 '12 at 14:42
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The issue of style for the references section has come up. I still find the <sub> subscript method to be superior to the blockquote or References header as it deemphasizes the reference section rather than emphasizing it. The reference section should be easy to locate and read but should not catch the eye like bold and blockquotes do.

References

Neher, A. (1991). Maslow's theory of motivation: A critique. Journal of Humanistic Psycholgoy, 31, 3. FREE PDF
Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory (1976), or a free pdf scan here

Best I can tell, blockquote was preferred because someone thought each reference would have to be wrapped in <sub> tags but this is not the case; as you can see from the source of this post, only one set of tags is needed, but lines need to be broken by two spaces and a return at the end of a line, not two returns.

  • " someone thought each reference would have to be wrapped in <sub> tags" ... that would have been me. :) Thanks for pointing out a way around this. – Steven Jeuris Feb 20 '12 at 14:52
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    As I mentioned in chat though, I'm not sure why the double return paragraph break messes this up, I'm not sure it should. – Ben Brocka Feb 20 '12 at 15:02
  • I asked about it on meta. – Steven Jeuris Feb 22 '12 at 12:10
  • This meta answer makes it clear this is by design. – Steven Jeuris Feb 23 '12 at 9:17

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