AMA Citation Style Guide for Academic Medical Papers

February 8, 2019

AMA Citation Style

Every academic paper should adhere to a particular citation style and structure formats. The same aspect applies to the citation of medical documents. The American Medical Association (AMA) is one of the major citation styles recommended for medical papers. The process of mastering AMA citation can be understood after constant practice and reading from the reputable academic website. Are you struggling to learn the art of formatting your medical papers using AMA citation? Here are the useful tips that you can use to avoid the hustle.

What’s AMA Style?

Have you ever come across this writing format in your medical papers? Well, American Medical Association has their customized style of writing academic articles. The primary aim for introducing this format to medical students was to enable simple paper structure that is universal and accepted by all. It was introduced in the 20th century and concurrently is in its 10th edition. It is essential that you clarify with your institution or professor regarding the most preferred citation style to enable delivery of a high-quality paper. While it may be a daunting task to read the entire guideline books on AMA citation. This information is a summary of the basic rules and principles for writing an AMA paper.

AMA Referencing

In AMA citation, you can compile the references after completing the paper with detailed information regarding the sources that you use in the research and the pieces of data acquired from external sources. Generally, you should place the list of references or bibliography on a fresh page at the end of the document. Failure to acknowledge borrowed information may lead to plagiarism which is unethical and punishable in some academic institutions. Plagiarism refers to using information or ideas from other authors whether by quoting directly or paraphrasing without acknowledging them as the source.

The two fundamental elements in referencing entail;-

  • The in-text citation which may be direct or indirect
  • References after the conclusion

In-text Citation

In-text citations can be described as the sentences or paraphrased information from the external sources. It is also your responsibility to acknowledge the work and ideas of other authors by using superscript numbers that are placed at the end of the sentence to credit the authors. Direct quotations should have the speech marks or the quotation marks to allow differentiating the borrowed pieces of information from the personal ideas and opinions. Generally, such information usually has numerical data that is known as superscript. Superscript refers to writing format that entails writing texts in smaller font size slightly higher than the standard line. It is also important to note that multiple characters representing different sources of superscripts can be separated using commas without placing spaces in between the characters.

You should always remember to use the person’s name including the type and date of communication in the citation. However, personal information or communication should not have a superscript or the list of references at the end of the paper.

The following examples are the lists of examples of how to write in-text citations in AMA style.

Indirect Quotation (Superscript placed after the period)

  • The researchers established that cultural beliefs affect the treatment of Type II Diabetes among the Hispanics.

Direct Quotation (Superscript set after the speech marks)

  • The professor wrote, “All peer-reviewed journals should be cited and numbered correctly.”

Multiple Sources (The commas separate superscripts)

  • Most researchers agree that training is a significant strategy of increasing evidence-based practice and improving clinical outcomes.

Quick Tips of When to Place In-Text Citations

  • When using statistical information that is borrowed from an external source.
  • When paraphrasing an idea that is not yours and varies from one author to another
  • When you mention the author(s) name in the context of your notes
  • When using a direct quote with speech marks
  • When explaining the idea of factual information that is not a piece of common knowledge.

Additionally, it is crucial that when you are in doubt regarding particular information that is vulnerable to manipulation or change, it is essential to cite and provide a suitable back up to increase the chances of accuracy. You may need to make a personal judgment of whether a particular source is a journal, webpage, E-book or Blog post to decide the right criterion of referencing.

Reference List

When writing the list of references in AMA style, you should number them according to the order in which they have been used in the in-text citations. You should also remember to invert the author’s names and use initials for the first and middle names. Furthermore, you should use periods between the initials.

The following are examples of writing the reference list in AMA style


The citation of publications varies based on some factors such as the no. of authors, whether the book is edited, written by an organization and whether the citation differs from other chapters.

The following table provides the specific guidelines to follow when citing different articles in AMA format.

Number of Authors Example Appearance in the List of References
One Author Author’s name AA. Title of Work in Italics. Location/City of Publication: Publisher; Year of Publication: Page xx-xx
Zuri RO. Introduction to Qualitative Research. Boston, MA; Cengage Publishers: 2016: 34-89
Two Authors Author’s name AA, Author’s Name BB. Title of work in italics and sentence case. Location/City of Publication: Publisher; Year of Publication: Page xx-xx
Zuri RO, Jabali RT. Introduction to qualitative research. Boston, MA; Cengage Publishers: 2016: 34-89
More than seven Authors First Author’s Name AA, Second, Third et al. Book title. Location: Publisher; Year: Page xx-xx
Dogo BU, Cynthia RR, Daniel SI et al. The fundamentals of the medical profession. New York, NY: Springer; 1998: Page 125-456



The information and ideas that are directly quoted or paraphrased from the journals are usually cited by writing the journal title in italics and providing the DOI number or the link to the source.

For Example (Journal Article with doi)

George BF, White HG. Diabetes Management. The American Journal of Medicine. 2008; 355(5). doi:10.10939/100202

Example II (Journal without doi)

Regley GF. Obesity in Africa. Journal of Nursing Research. 2017;69(10): 1223-1399. http://search.journalofnursing.com/login.aspx.pdf Accessed March 2017

While there are numerous citation generators online. It worth noting that some unofficial websites may mislead you in citing your sources in AMA style. Therefore, it is important to understand the recommended style by your professor before using any online citation generator. However, you should always adhere to the standard format as provided in the AMA style guide textbook.

General Formatting of Your Paper in AMA style

Title page: AMA experts do not recommend the use of a title page in this paper. However, some professor’s/institution may require one. In such a case, you can organize the title page in the following format.

  • Title /Topic in full (Should be centered in the middle of the first page)
  • Student’s Name
  • Institutional Affiliation
  • Page number at the lower right-hand corner of the first page

The body of the Text: You can be allowed to mention up to two names in the central part of the text.

Example: According to Jude and Victor5, taking caffeinated drinks an hour before sleeping may lead to chronic sleeping disorders.

Other Important Rules to consider when writing AMA Papers

  • You should remember that the list of references should be reading with a subtitle “”
  • You should cite unpublished work parenthetically and not included in the reference list
  • Separate the sub-elements of the bibliographic content and interconnected components like writers’ names using a comma. Nonetheless, if the parts show variation in release date title and volume, use a semicolon to separate them.
  • The entries in the reference list should be numbered or arranged to according to how they appear in the in-text citations.
  • The entries of the reference list should be written in the standard font size and single-spaced without indenting.
  • The page range of the paper should be separated using a hyphen (-). For instance, Page 56-89 as illustrated in the examples above.
  • Superscripts only appear after the quotation marks and not before.


In summation, while understanding the rules and guidelines for writing a paper in AMA citation style helps a student to be ethical, it also assists one to get good grades in medical assignments. Therefore, to learn the format quickly, one should consider the primary aspects like in-text citations, the title page, and the reference section. Just like APA, AMA citations is also widely used in the medical institutions and the peer-reviewed journals also adhere to the same principles of formatting. Finally, it is recommended that to obtain an in-depth knowledge regarding citation in AMA style; you should read the entire updated book of AMA style citation.  This strategy will ensure that more information like the list of figures, appendices and the table of contents are acquired.

Do not allow the process of writing AMA papers overwhelm you. Make an effort to reach us today, and we will be sure to deliver the best and top-notch medical assignments. Our team of professional writers will work to achieve the standards of your institution at your deadline requirements.

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