AMA Citation Style. How to Cite Medical Articles

If you work in the medical or scientific fields, you may be familiar with the AMA format and citation. Because the AMA guidelines are 1032 pages long, they have made life difficult for students worldwide. The guidebook provides instructions on how to write in the AMA format. If you don’t have time to read it but still want to learn the basics of the American Medical Association (AMA) Style, this article will lead you through the basic paper format and citation rules of the AMA Style, which is widely used in medicine. We’ve included a format example and a template for print and electronic sources for your convenience. But first, let’s define the term.


What Exactly Is the AMA Format?

The American Medical Association format (AMA format) is a style guide for organizing and organizing academic publications. It makes it possible for students pursuing degrees in health-care, medicine, or nursing to deliver their thoughts to their reading audiences in a clear and organized manner. It wasn’t until 1962 that the American Medical Association released its first style guide and its first citation guide, and there haven’t been many revisions since then. In order to offer their essays and research papers with evidence from trustworthy sources to back up their claims, the goal was to develop a simple and consistent format that all students could use.

It is critical to understand the AMA reference format for several reasons:

  • To structure your papers logically
  • To make it easier to understand your texts
  • To create a framework for your arguments and thesis statement (s)
  • To give credit where credit is due, the names of talented contributors will be included.
  • To avoid plagiarism issues.

Finally, the AMA format is almost always required for medical research papers. It is impossible to receive full credit for your work if you do not format it. Without citing sources, a student risks being accused of plagiarism, which often results in an ‘F.’ AMA style being used in various educational institutions and publications. To provide a comprehensive answer to the question “What is AMA format?” we must examine the components of this writing style.


AMA Paper Formatting Fundamentals

We previously stated that AMA guidelines had not changed significantly since 1962. So, what are its fundamental principles? Each time an AMA style citation is required, the writer must generate a number in superscript and then cite the source in full in the “Reference List” with that corresponding number.


AMA Formatting Guidelines

It is critical to ensure that the numbers are in chronological order. Remember the following formatting fundamentals:

  • The text should be double-spaced.
  • Use only one “margins of error.
  • Font size should be 12, and font type can be any. Typefaces (a serif for body text and a sans serif for headers and subheads) can be combined with appropriate styles such as bold and italics to create a cohesive look. (5.22.4)
  • Use half of the “indentations.
  • Page numbers should be added beginning with the title page. Pages should be numbered sequentially. Page numbers are typically placed in the upper right corner of a document.
  • References must be listed and numbered in the order they were cited in your paper.


The Fundamentals of AMA Citation

  • Your AMA “Reference List” page will contain the whole reference, which may be found by looking at the superscript numerals.
  • Each citation number should correspond to the reference number.
  • Arabic superscript numerals should be used.
  • Complete references must start with the corresponding number.
  • References must be formatted in accordance with the source that they are referencing; for example, knowing how to cite a webpage does not imply that the student knows how to reference a book.
  • A bibliographical entry should include the author’s last name, first and middle initials, and no punctuation.
  • To include more than one author, use a comma. 3. Lawrence, T., and P.J. Barman. Cardiac denervation in diabetes. BMJ, 4:584-586, 1973.
  • Titles must be written in sentence case, with no exceptions (capitalize only the first word in the title; there is no need to capitalize the rest of the phrases). (Take, for example, GONE WITH THE WIND.)
  • Abbreviated and italicized titles from the National Library of Medicine database should be used when referencing the database.
  • Using periods, divide each reference into bibliographic categories.
  • Invert the writers’ names. Use initials with no periods between the first and middle names for the first and middle names. The format should be as follows: AuthorLastname, FirstInitialMiddleInitial.
  • After the volume numbers, put issue numbers in parentheses (for journals).


Punctuation Marks Regulations

  • When the items are sub-elements of a bibliographic component or a set of interconnected elements, such as authors’ names, use a comma.
  • If the elements in the category differ (for example, the release date and the title of the source) / if numerous occurrences of interconnected components are accessible within a group + before the volume identification information, use a semicolon to separate the elements in the category.
  • A colon should be used before the publisher’s name, between the title and the subtitle, and after a connective word (e.g., “In,” “Presented at,” or “Presented at”).


References in the AMA Bibliography

The use of proper references inside the text and in the Reference List, as well as proper stylistic matters, is essential for the AMA paper formatting style. Use of headings and capitalization of headings are examples of proper formatting, as are the use of line spacing, margins, text styles (for example, using “one” or “1,” using AM, a.m., or A.M.), page number placement and font, graph spacing and table size and shape, and so on.

When available, AMA style requires standard National Library of Medicine [NLM] abbreviations for all journal titles.

Here are some general formatting guidelines for AMA citations:

  • Superscript number that corresponds.
  • Author(s).
  • Title of the article.
  • Journal Title in Abbreviation
  • Volume(issue): pages; date
  • Journal Articles Available Online.



Here are some more essential guidelines:

  • Measurements: It is preferable to use SI standard measurements when writing measurements (The International System of Units). Numeric values are always written in plain text. There is a space between the number and the unit, and there is never a period after the unit. Commas should not be used (e.g., 1600 km, not 1,600 km).
  • Dates: When providing a date in the text, use numerals for the day and year and write out the month – for example, October 2, 2020. When using dates in a table, you can use numerals for the month (for example, 4/2/2010).
  • Numbers: Use numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) in all writing except when the number begins a sentence or title. Use AM or PM in small letters to indicate the time of day (6 pm). It is preferable to use standard 12-hour clock time. If you need to show precise timing, you can also use the 24 hour or military time convention.
  • Acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms: Unless they are well-known, acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms should be avoided. It may include accepted units of measurement as well as some well-known terms. If an acronym, abbreviation, or initialism is well-known, spell it out the first time you use it. Periods should not be used between the letters of an acronym, abbreviation, or initialism. In the text of a manuscript, stated names should always appear as full names. Use the two-letter abbreviation (first name initial and middle name initial) when referencing.


AMA Title Page


The following information should be included on the title page:

  • The Title [In titles and subtitles, capitalize the first letter of each significant word]
  • The page number is located in the upper right corner.
  • First and last names
  • Course Title
  • Date
  • University
  • Student Number


Format and Rules for In-Text Citation

In-text citations are notes made within the text of your paper when you use a borrowed piece of information or idea, and they should be identified with superscript numbers. If you use a direct quote from another work, it should be enclosed in quotation marks. If the direct quote is more than four lines long, it should be set off and indented in a separate block, presented in reduced type, and appear without quotation marks. The superscript numbers identifying your use of borrowed information and ideas should appear outside (or to the right) of commas, periods, and quotation marks and inside (or to the left) of colons and semicolons.

If you use information and ideas from more than one source in a single passage or sentence, identify each one with a different superscript number. Multiple superscript numbers should be separated by commas and not separated by spaces. Personal communications, including interviews, emails, and letters, should have information and ideas cited parenthetically within the text of your paper. In the citation, include the person’s name and the type and date of the communication.


AMA Reference List

When using AMA format, you must include a detailed list of references at the end of your paper that provides information about your chosen sources. The list of references should contain detailed information about the sources you used in your research and information and ideas borrowed from other sources that you used in your paper. The in-text citations appear throughout the text, but the full entry for each reference is included on a separate page of the essay.

The AMA Reference List format enables readers to locate the source of information on the topic covered and conduct in-depth research on the issue. A superscript number should be used to connect the in-text citation and its corresponding reference. The superscript number is determined by the order in which it appears in the essay (beginning with 1, 2, etc.).


General Rules

  • The references should be listed numerically in the order they appeared in your paper’s text.
  • The type, order, and format of information to include in a Reference List will differ depending on the type of source from which you borrowed the piece(s) of data and idea(s).
  • Regardless of the source, you should never put a comma between an author’s, editor’s, or director’s last name and first initials.
  • If you borrow information or an idea from a specific page or range of pages within a printed work or a paginated web resource, you must identify the page(s) at the end of the reference.
  • When identifying a page number or numbers in an entry in your list of references, use the whole numbers (for example, 111–112, not 111–2).


Digital Documents

The following elements should be included in all references to digital journals:

  • Article title and subtitle (as applicable)
  • Name of the journal abbreviated and italicized Year Volume Number Issue Number
  • When appropriate, the part or supplement number
  • Page numbers are included—
  • Do not leave out any digits from inclusive page numbers.
  • A semicolon separates the year of publication;
  • a colon separates the volume number and issue number (in parentheses);
  • a hyphen separates the first-page number, and the last page number is separated by a period.


Print Materials

The following elements should be included in all references to print books:

  • Surnames and first and middle initials of the authors
  • Title of the chapter (if there)
  • First and middle initials of the author(s) or editor(s) of the book, as well as their surname (or translators if any)
  • Book title and subtitle (if any)
  • Volume title and volume number (when there is more than one volume)
  • Number of editions (do not indicate the first edition)
  • Publication location
  • When a country name appears alone, it must be spelled out.
  • Publisher’s name
  • Page numbers for the year of copyright (when specific pages are cited)