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Citing Sources: AMA

Getting Started with AMA Style

The American Medical Association (AMA) Style was developed for medical research writing.

Style Guides in the Library or Online

Formatting Your Reference List

References are found at the end of a manuscript and are titled “Reference List,” and each item should be listed in numerical order (two references should not be combined under a single reference number) as opposed to alphabetically. Additionally, each item should be single-spaced.

  • always include the last name and the first and middle initial of the authors without punctuation
  • However, do use a comma to separate more than one author in a single bibliographic group (e.g., Wheeler T, Watkins PJ).
  • Use sentence case for all titles (capitalize only the first word of the title). 
  • Abbreviate and italicize names of journals according to the listing in the National Library of Medicine database
  • Do not omit digits from inclusive page numbers.
  • The year of the publication is followed by a semicolon; the volume number and the issue number (in parentheses) are followed by a colon; the initial page number, a hyphen, and the final page number, followed by a period, are set without spaces.
  • To use a DOI, omit the URL, access date, and publication date. In place of this information, add the DOI (preceded by a "doi:" label). The rest of the citation should remain the same: Author(s). Title. Journal Name. Year;vol(issue no.):inclusive pages. doi:10.0000000/000000000000

Format Your Paper

NOTE:  the AMA Manual of Style does not provide detailed instructions on the layout to use, including a format for the Title Page. Be sure and check with your instructor or the publisher to whom you are submitting a paper for more specific formatting guidelines. 

Here is a guide with some useful tips from the University of Washington Health Sciences Library:

How do I cite my sources in the text of my paper? (In-text citation examples)

References are numbered in  consecutive order in the text, tables, or figures.

Use superscript arabic numerals to cite material, e.g., 1    The first reference used in a written document is listed as 1 in the reference list.

Where to place the superscript?  The superscript number 1  is inserted into the document immediately next to the fact, concept, or quotation being cited.  If citing more than one reference at the same point, separate the numbers with commas and no spaces between. 

The Superscript number is inserted:

  • Immediately next to the fact, idea or quotation being cited.  Ex. This drug is used to treat hepatitis.1
  • Outside periods and commas. Ex. Storing latex at high heat may cause degradation, 2,3-5,7  but it is difficult to keep materials cool in a desert environment.
  • Inside colons and semi-colons. Ex. Some physicians choose to store prescription pads in locked cabinets 8; others keep them in their coats at all times. 9
  • When more than 2 references are cited at a given place in the manuscript, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series; use commas without space to separate other parts of a multiple citation.  Ex. As reported previously,1,4-7,19,24

If a reference is used multiple times in one paper, use the same number throughout.



How do I cite my sources at the end of my paper? (Reference List examples)


Here are some typical examples; See the AMA Style Guide for additional examples [Note: color coding is only for instructional purposes]:


Book with 2 Authors

1. Maul-Mellott SK, Adams JN. Childhood Cancer: A Nursing Overview. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 1987.


Book with 3 Authors

2. Silverstein A, Silverstein VB, Nunn LS. Cancer. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books; 2006.


Book with Committee or Group as an Author

3. Lafeuille MH, Grittner AM, Gravel J, et al; Reliant Medical Group Informatics. Opportunities for improving attainment of quality measures in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Am J Manag Care. 2014;20(1):S5-S24.


Chapter in an Edited Volume

4. Yagyu S, Iehara T. MYCN nonamplified neuroblastoma: Detection of tumor-derived cell-free DNA in serum for predicting prognosis of neuroblastoma. In Hayat MA, ed. Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis, Therapy, and Prognosis. Dordrecht, NY: Springer; 2013:11-17.


Journal Article  [non-electronic] (2 authors)

Basic format: AuthorLastname, FirstInitialMiddleInitial. Title in sentence caseAbbreviated Journal Title in Title Case. Year Month Day; volume(Issue#): PP-PP.


6. Compston A, Coles A. Multiple sclerosis. The Lancet. 2008;372(9648):1502-1517.


Thesis or Dissertation

5. MacKenzie MA. Comparing Heart Failure and Cancer Caregiver Satisfaction with Hospice Care. [dissertation]. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania; 2014.




Basic format: Author(s). Chapter title. In: Editor(s). Book Title. [Edition number, if it is the second edition or above; mention of first edition is not necessary] ed. City, State (or country) of publisher: Publisher’s name; copyright:inclusive pages. URL [provide URL and verify that the link still works as close as possible to the time of publication]. Accessed [date].


8. Koplan JP, Liverman CT, Kraak VA.  Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. Washington, DC: National Academies Institute of Medicine; 2005. Accessed April 7, 2015.


Journal Article from an Electronic Database (more than 3 authors)

Basic format:  Author(s). TitleJournal Name [using National Library of Medicine abbreviations as mentioned above]. Year;vol(issue no.):inclusive pages. URL [provide the URL in this field; no need to use “URL:” preceding it]. Published [date]. Updated [date]. Accessed [date].


7. Drake AJ, Smith A, Betts PR, et al. Type 2 diabetes in obese white children. Arch Dis Child. 2002;86(3), 207-208. Accessed April 5, 2015.



Basic format: Author(s), if given (often, no authors are given). Title of the specific item cited (if none is given, use the name of the organization responsible for the site). Name of the website. URL [provide URL and verify that the link still works as close as possible to publication]. Published [date]. Updated [date]. Accessed [date].


9. Living With Type 1 Diabetes. Published February 9, 2015. Accessed April 7, 2015.