Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citing Sources: AMA Style

Quick Links

Purdue Online Writing Lab: AMA Style Guide
Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides writing resources and instructional materials for writing projects.  The AMA Style Guide includes an introduction to the style, citation formatting for various sources, formatting for in-text citations and reference lists, and more. 

chat loading...

About AMA (American Medical Association) Style

The AMA citation style was developed by the American Medical Association for the purpose of writing medical research.  Athletic Training majors use this citation style. 

Always check with your professor to determine which citation style you should use before beginning your paper or project. 

Formatting Examples

Before you start creating your citations, you will need to identify:

  • Author(s)
  • Title of the Work
  • Publisher Information
  • Date of Publication or Creation

Rules for the Reference List

  • References are found at the end of a manuscript and are titled “Reference List". 
  • Each item should be listed in numerical order (two references should not be combined under a single reference number) as opposed to alphabetically.
  • Each item should be single-spaced.
  •  Always include the last name and the first and middle initial of the authors without punctuation.
  • Use sentence case for all titles (capitalize only the first word of the title). 
  • Each reference is divided with periods into bibliographic groups, and each bibliographic group contains bibliographic elements, which may be separated using the following punctuation marks:
    • Comma: if the items are sub-elements of a bibliographic element or a set of closely related elements (e.g., the authors’ names).
    • Semicolon: if the elements in the bibliographic group are different (e.g., between the publisher’s name and the copyright year) or if there are multiple occurrences of logically related elements within a group; also, before volume identification data.
    • Colon: before the publisher’s name, between the title and the subtitle, and after a connective phrase (e.g., “In,” “Presented at”).

Within the text of a publication, individual references are presented in an abbreviated format that refers back to the list. These abbreviated references within the text are called in-text references.

General guidelines for in-text citations:

  • References should be numbered consecutively with superscript Arabic numerals in the order in which they are cited in the text.
  • If a reference is used multiple times in one document, use the same number throughout the document.
  • Reference numbers appear outside periods and commas and inside colons and semi-colons. 
  • If appropriate, you may use the author name(s) within the citing paragraph.
Example Additional Notes
Sentence with Multiple Citations

Chocolate has many potential health benefits such as improved blood flow,1 mood,2 and brain function.3 

Sentence Citing Two Sources Together

Two studies3,4 have shown that chocolate can lead to improved brain function.

When citing 2 references at a given place in the manuscript, use a comma without a space to cite both references.

Sentence Citing Three or More Sources Together

Multiple studies5-7 have shown that chocolate can lead to optimism.

When citing >3 references at a given place in the manuscript, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series.

Sentence Citing Reference with One Author

According to Brennan,1 chocolate significantly improves blood flow.

When citing a reference that only has one author, then list one author's name.

Sentence Citing Reference with Two Authors

According to Barbato and Guisto,2 chocolate significantly improves mood.

When citing a reference that has two authors, then list both authors' names.

Sentence Citing Reference with Three or More Authors

According to Dupra et al,3 chocolate significantly improves brain function.

When citing a reference that has three or more authors, then list the first author’s surname and et al.

Source: "American Medical Association (AMA) Citation Style" from the Medical University of South Carolina

Author Information

  • Use the author’s surname followed by initials without periods.
  • Names of all authors should be given unless there are more than 6, in which case the names of the first 3 authors are used followed by “et al.”
  • Roman numerals and abbreviations for Junior (Jr) and Senior (Sr) follow authors’ initials.
  • The JAMA Network journals prefer II, III, and IV, unless the author prefers arabic numerals.
One Author Doe JF
Two Authors Doe JF, Roe JP III
Six Authors Joe JF, Roe JP III, Coe RT Jr, Loe JT Sr, Poe EA, van Voe AE
More than Six Authors Joe JF, Roe JP III, Coe RT Jr, et al. 
One Author for a Group
One Author and a Group
Doe JF; Laser ROP Study Group

More than Six Authors for a Group
More than Six Authors and a Group

Joe JF, Roe JP III, Coe RT Jr, et al.; Laser ROP Study Group
Group Laser ROP Study Group


Title and Subtitle Information 

In titles of articles, books, parts of books, and other material, retain the spelling, abbreviations, and style for numbers used in the original. 

Do not enclose article and book chapter titles in quotation marks. However, if a book, book chapter, or article title contains quotation marks in the original, retain them as double quotation marks (unless both double and single quotation marks are used).

In English-language titles:

  • Italicize the titles of books, government bulletins, documents, and pamphlets
  • Capitalize
    • The first letter of each major word
    • Proper names
    • Names of clinical trials or study groups (eg, Community health worker home visits for adults with uncontrolled asthma: the HomeBASE Trial randomized clinical trial)
    • Abbreviations that are ordinarily capitalized (eg, DNA, EEG, VDRL)
    • Two-letter verbs (Is, Be)
  • Do not capitalize
    • Articles, prepositions of 3 or fewer letters (as, off, out, per, up, via)
    • Coordinating conjunctions (and, or, for, nor, but, yet, so)



Style for subtitles follows that for titles for spelling, abbreviations, numbers, capitalization, and use of italics, except that for journal articles the subtitle begins with a lowercase letter.

Non English Titles

Non-English titles may be given as they originally appeared, without translation.

If non–English-language titles are translated into English, indication of the original language should follow the title.

Example: Shimura M. Looking to the future: treatment for retinal vascular disease. Article in Japanese. Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 2014;118(11):905-906.

If the non–English-language title and the translation are provided, both may be given. In the example below, the article was published in 3 languages, and all translations are provided.

Example: Becerra-Posada F, Hennis A, Lutter C. Prevention of childhood obesity through trilateral cooperation. Prevención de la obesidad infantil a través de una cooperación trilateral. Prévention de l’obésité infantile grâce à la coopération trilatérale. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2016;40(2):76-77.


Basic Form

Author's Last Name and Initials. Title of Book. Publisher City: Publisher Name; Year.

Whole Book

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

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

Chapter Within a Book

1. 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.

Book with Editors or Translators 

1. Engel J, Pedley TA, Aicardi, J, eds. Epilepsy: A Comprehensive Textbook. Vol 3.  Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.

Multi-Volume Book

1. Kurts D, Heath DA, Hines C, et al. Clinical Procedures for Ocular Examination. Vol 3. 2ND ed. McGraw-Hill; 2004.

Specific Edition of a Book

1. Barkley, R A. Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents. Rev ed. New york, NY: Guilford press; 2000.

Government Agency Publication 

1. Visa Bulletin for April 2015. Washington, DC: US Dept of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs; 2015. NIH Publication 79. 

2. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 75: Management of alloimmunization during pregnancy. Bethesda, MD: The National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2006. 457-464.

Basic Form

Author's Last Name and Initials. Title of article and subtitle. Abbreviated Name of Journal. Year;VolumeNumber(IssueNumber):Pages. 

Journal Article

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

2. Beran RG, Braley TJ, Segal BM, Chervin RD. Sleep-disordered breathing in multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2013;80(14):1354-1355.

3. Pollart SM, Caelleigh AS. Changing conversations, changing culture: A medical education journal club. Med Educ. 2011;45(11):1134.

4. Jungang L. Investigation of radon and heavy metals in Xuanwei and Fuyuan, high lung cancer incidence areas in China. J Environ Health. 2013;76(4):32-39.

Journal with Authors and Group Name

1. 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.

Online Journal Basic Form

Author(s). Title. Journal Name. Year;VolumeNumber(IssueNumber):Pages. URL . Date Published. Date Updated. Accessed date.

Online Journal

1. 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 Form

Author's Last Name and Initials if given. Title of specific item cited. Name of website. URL. Published date. Updated date. Accessed date. 

Webpage within a Website

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

2. Why Immunize? Updated September 23, 2014. Accessed April 7, 2015.

3. Yale University. ScienceDaily. Published January 7, 2015. Accessed April 5, 2015.


© 2020 McGovern Library, Dakota Wesleyan University

Contact us: McGovern Library | Ph. 605.995.2618 | Fax 605.995.2893 | 1200 W. University Ave, Mitchell, SD 57301