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Citing Your Sources

Use these resources to aid in your citation writing process.

Getting Started

This style guide is borrowed from the James Cook University Library. They have made it publicly available through Creative Commons license.

AMA Style is a variation of the Vancouver system that is used by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and other publications by the AMA.  We are currently following the 11th edition of the AMA style guide.

AMA is a documentary-note style, which means you put a number in your text to cite sources of information and the reference list is in numerical order.

In text citations are in superscript1 and in order of citation (the first citation is 1 the next is 2).  If you use the same source again, you keep the same number (the source you used for the first citation is always 1, even if you use it again after 6).

General Notes:

  • The major parts of a reference are Authors. Title of part. Title of Whole. Publication details (including copyright/publication year). Online details.  Each section is separated by a full stop.
  • The authors follow the pattern of Surname Initials (e.g. Brown JA) and are separated by a comma.
    • If there are more than six authors, only list the first three names, then shorten with et al. (e.g. Smith AA, Jones BA, Bloggs JC, et al.)
  • The title of the part (journal article, book chapter or web object) is always in sentence case and not in italics.
  • The title of the whole (book or journal) is usually in Title Case and in italics - except for web sites and unpublished material.
  • The publication details change for the type of source you are citing (journal article, book chapter, etc).  See the full details in the guide for more information.
  • Online details:  with electronic sources, you always use the DOI if you have one.  If not, use a URL if it is relevant.
  • If you use a URL, you must include an Accessed date.


Quick Cite

The following guidelines are based on the minimum requirements for AMA citations.  AMA style requires this core information for each citation (additional details can be added where appropriate – see the relevant pages in the full JCU AMA guide).

Pay close attention to punctuation use in the examples – including case, italics, the order of dates and spaces.

Journal Articles

With DOI

  1. Author(s). Article title: subtitle. Journal Abbreviation. Year;vol(issue no.):inclusive pages. DOI

A DOI is preferable to a URL if one is available. No accessed date is required for the DOI because it is a permanent identifier.

With URL

  1. Author(s). Article title: subtitle. Journal Abbreviation. Year;vol(issue no.):inclusive pages. Accessed date. URL

Print journal article

  1. Author(s). Article title: subtitle. Journal Abbreviation. Year;vol(issue no.):inclusive pages.


  1. Yazigi JA Jr, Anauate Nicolao F, Archetti Netto N, et al. Magnetic resonance imaging reproducibility for rotator cuff partial tears in patients up to 60 years. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019;20:383-8. doi:10.1186/s12891-019-2760-4
  2. Moore Y, Shotton E, Brown R, Gremmel J, Lindsey S, Pankey J. Effects of incentive spirometry on perceived dyspnea in patients hospitalized with pneumonia. Medsurg Nursing. 2018;27(1):19-23. Accessed August 6, 2020.
  3. Economopoulos KJ, Brockmeier SF. Rotator cuff tears in overhead athletes. Clin Sports Med. 2012;31(4):675-692.
  4. Laver  KE, Adey‚ÄźWakeling Z, Crotty M, Lannin NA, George S, Sherrington C. Telerehabilitation services for stroke. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2020;(1):CD010255. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010255.pub3

Books (whole book)

  1. Author(s) or Editor(s) [if editors, include ed or eds]. Book Title. Edition number [if not the first edition]. Publisher’s name; Copyright year.  Accessed date [only if using URL]. DOI or URL [if online]


  1. Drake RL, Vogl W, Mitchell AWM, Gray H. Gray's Anatomy for Students. 4th ed. Elsevier; 2020.
  2. Cameron P, Little M, Mitra B, Deasy C, eds. Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Elsevier; 2020.
  3. Vieira AR.Genetic Basis of Oral Health Conditions. Springer International Publishing; 2019. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-14485-2
  4. World Health Organization. Health Worker Roles in Providing Safe Abortion Care and Post-abortion Contraception. World Health Organization; 2015. Accessed August 12, 2020.

Book chapter

  1. Author(s) of chapter. Title of chapter. In: Editor(s), ed. or eds. Title of Book. Edition number [if not the first edition]. Publisher’s name; Copyright year:inclusive pages. Accessed date [only if using URL]. DOI or URL [if online]


  1. Smith JV. Shoulder dislocations. In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. Elsevier; 2020:1163-1167. Accessed August 6, 2020.!/content/book/3-s2.0-B9780323476331001745
  2. Shaparin N, Shah A, Gritsenko K. Pharmacological agents: opioids. In: Urman RD, Vadivelu N, eds. Perioperative Pain Management. Oxford University Press; 2013:29-37. Accessed November 25, 2012.
  3. Trabulsy P. Complementary and alternative medicine. In: Stein GS, Luebbers KP, eds. Cancer: Prevention, Early Detection, Treatment and Recovery. 2nd ed. Wiley Blackwell; 2019:499-530. doi:10.1002/9781119645214.ch27

Web pages

  1. Author(s). Title of page or object. Name of website. Date published. Updated date. Accessed date. URL


  1. Hughes GRV, Erb N. The Antiphospholipid (Hughes) Syndrome. LUPUS UK. Accessed May 5, 2021.
  2. Department of Health & Human Services. Anaphylaxis. Better Health Channel. Updated August, 2014. Accessed August 31, 2020.
  3. Hand hygiene: Why, how & when. World Health Organization. Updated August, 2009. Accessed August 12, 2020.

Journals & Cochrane Reviews

Standard article pattern (print):

Author AA, Author BB. Title of article. Journal Abbreviation. Year;volume(issue):pp-pp.


  1. Chiang HC, Huang V, Cornelius LA. Cancer and itch. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2011;30(2):107-112.
  2. Nejad AG, Kheradmand A. Five rare psychiatric syndromes co-occurring together. Neurosciences. 2009;14(1):91-3.
  3. Voigt C, Grasse P, Rex K, Hetz S, Speakman J. Bat breath reveals metabolic substrate use in free-ranging vampires. J Comp Physiol B. 2008;178(1):9-16.

Standard article pattern (electronic):

Author AA, Author BB. Title of article. Journal Abbreviation. Year;volume(issue):pp-pp. Accessed Month DD, YYYY. DOI or URL


  1. Economopoulos KJ, Brockmeier SF. Rotator cuff tears in overhead athletes. Clin Sports Med. 2012;31(4):675-692. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2012.07.005
  2. Finnan RP, Crosby LA. Partial-thickness rotator cuff tears. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2010;19(4):609-616. Accessed April 26, 2012.
  3. Ho DTN, Le TPT, Wolbers M, et al. Risk factors of Streptococcus suis infection in Vietnam. A case-control study. PLoS One. 2011;6(3):e17604. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017604


  • There are no spaces between the year, volume, issue number and page numbers.
  • Some online journals do not have page numbers. Use the article number instead. Reference 6 is an example.
  • If there is a DOI you should always include it at the end of the reference. 
  • You don't need to include a URL if there is a DOI, and you only need to include an Accessed date if you have used a URL.
  • There is no full stop after the DOI or URL

Journal Abbreviations:

  • The Journal Abbreviations can be found by looking at the Journal Record in the NLMA catalogue (PubMed).  If your title is not in the PubMed catalogue, the Manual offers advice for abbreviating journal titles in Chapter 13. For words that aren't in Chapter 13's list, you can look up the keywords from the title in the NMLA catalogue or the CASSI search tool to see how other titles with the same word have been abbreviated.
  • One word titles are never abbreviated, and the complete title can always be used if an abbreviation cannot be found.

Cochrane Reviews

Cochrane Reviews are supposed to be cited as electronic journal articles.  Articles are given article numbers instead of page numbers. Place the article number (without "Art no") in the place of the page numbers for a normal journal article.  There is no volume number for Cochrane reviews, so skip straight from the year to the issue number.  Always use the doi instead of a URL for Cochrane reviews:


  1. Shepherd E, Grivell RM. Aspirin (single dose) for perineal pain in the early postpartum period. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;(7):CD012129. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012129.pub3
  2. Palmer MJ, Henschke N, Villanueva G, et al. Targeted client communication via mobile devices for improving sexual and reproductive health. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;(8):CD013680. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD013680
  3. Palareti L, Melotti G, Cassis F, Nevitt SJ, Iorio A. Psychological interventions for people with hemophilia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;(3):CD010215. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010215.pub2

In-Text Citations


When mentioned in the text, only surnames of authors are used. For a 2-author reference, list both surnames; for references with more than 2 authors or authors and a group, include the first author’s surname followed by “et al”.

Superscript numbers

The numbers in text are in superscript1 and occur at the end of the clause in which you used the information. They occur outside “quotation marks,”2 commas,3 (parentheses)4 and full stops.5 However, they occur inside semicolons6; and colons7:

Do not leave a space between the last letter or punctuation mark and the number.

Re-use numbers for the same citation

Citations should be numbered sequentially – that is, the first source you cite is 1, the second source is 2 and so on.

However, once you have given a source a number, it will keep that number throughout your paper. So, if you use your first source again, no matter how often you use it, it is still 1.


Citing more than one work at a time

Use commas to show that more than one work is being cited, and use hyphens for several works that would be numbered sequentially:

These side effects can have implications for the patient's mental health, as numerous studies have shown.1,3,6-9

Relationship between in-text citations and reference list

Your reference list follows the order of the numbers used in the text. The first source you cite in the text is 1 and the reader will look for number 1 in the reference list to find the full citation; the fifth source you use is 5 and the full citation is listed at number 5 in the reference list (and so on).


Avoid placing a superscript reference citation immediately after a number or an abbreviated unit of measure to avoid any confusion between the superscript reference citation and an exponent.

Avoid: The 2 largest studies to date included 262 and 183 patients.

Better: The 2 largest studies to date included 26 patients2 and 18 patients.3

In the medical sciences, you should only use a direct quote if the exact wording is important.  You should be paraphrasing the information as much as possible. When paraphrasing, it is not standard practice to use page numbers, but they can be used if you feel it is necessary for clarification.

However, if you do need to refer to the exact wording used by the authors, you must put the quote in "quotation marks" and use a page number next to the in-text citation.

You put the page number in brackets directly after the reference number, with no space: 1(p6). This all goes in superscript.


Rey's support of the Mad Dog theory is equivocal, and he states "I’m not defending Mad-doggery because I believe it."3(p125)

Helpful Sites

  • James Cook University Library's Research Guide is filled with citation examples for a variety of resources. 
  • Purdue OWL's AMA Guide

Journal Abbreviations for AMA