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AMA Citation Style for Papers, Projects, and Presentations

This tutorial provides quick tips and strategies for ensuring that you are citing sources appropriately in AMA citation style for your course papers, projects, and presentations.

STEP 1: Do I Need to Cite That?

One of the first challenges you will encounter when starting any paper, project, or presentation for your courses is determining whether you should cite something or not. Here are a few guidelines:

WHAT DO I HAVE TO CITE? Anything that is not your own creation or idea including your own previous work and these sources:
Word cloud of types of resources that need citations: blogs, websites, images, pictures, PowerPoints, conversations, video, books, articles, unpublished, interviews, email, and audio.
Even if a work appears to be easily accessible and freely available (eg: from a Google search), you MUST cite it (this even applies to those works in the public domain or under a Creative Commons license).

WHAT DON'T I HAVE TO CITE? Your own experiences, thoughts, or the results of your own experiments. Common knowledge including myths, legends, historical events, and widely accepted facts. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether something is common knowledge... just ask yourself 'Would my grandma know this?'

STEP 2: Breaking Down the AMA Citation Style

Like any citation style, AMA has two components: in-text citations and a reference list or bibliography. You should ALWAYS use both in all of your assignments to keep your academic work honest and allow your audience to quickly and efficiently identify the source of your information.

In the body of your paper (aka in-text citations): AMA In-text citations = SUPERSCRIPT NUMBERS
  • The Details: The order of these superscript numbers is sequential based on the first appearance of that citation in your work (eg: your first in-text citation should be 1 followed by 2, 3, and so on). If you use the same reference multiple times in your work, repeat the number used when it was first cited. If you reference multiple sources within a single sentence, separate them with commas. If you want to be precise, in-text citations should appear outside of periods and commas but inside of colons and semicolons.
Figure 1: Sample In-Text Citations in AMA Style
Screenshot of a paragraph of text showing appropriate in-text citations using the AMA style. Superscript number examples include citations after commas & periods as well as using the same number for repeated citations. =

At the end of your paper (aka bibliography or reference list): a comprehensive list of citations of all the sources you cited in your paper
  • The Details: Your bibliography should appear at the end of your paper in the order you use citations in your paper (eg: in-text citation 1 = reference 1 in your bibliography), not by author last name like in other citation styles such as APA. Each item in the reference list is formatted according to the AMA style guidelines.

STEP 3: Cite that Source!

Whether citing sources for your capstone project, in a group project, or a presentation, use AMA style. Here are some of the most common sources you may use and how to cite them in your bibliography (in approximate order of prevalence):
Unless the journal is an online-only journal, treat all journal article citations like they are print, even if you accessed it online
For one to six authors:
  • Print: McCurley A, Jaffe IZ. Mineralocortoid receptors in vascular function and disease. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012;350(2):256-265.
  • ePub ahead of print: McCurley A, Jaffe IZ. Mineralocortoid receptors in vascular function and disease [published online ahead of print March 21, 2012]. Mol Cell Endocrinol. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.06.014.
  • Online only: McCurley A, Jaffe IZ. Mineralocortoid receptors in vascular function and disease. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012;350. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=21723914. Accessed July 20, 2013.
For more than six authors, just include the first three authors followed by et al:
  • McCurley A, Pires PW, Bender SB, et al. Direct regulation of blood pressure by smooth muscle cell mineralocortoid receptors. Nat Med. 2012;18(9):1429-1433.
Websites can often be difficult to cite due to lack of information, but provide as much relevant information as possible in the citation
Immunization Schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Updated January 29, 2013. Accessed December 12, 2013.
INFORMATION FROM AN ONLINE DATABASE Fanta CH. Diagnosis of asthma in adolescents and adults. UpToDate. Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands: Wolters Kluwer; 2012. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/diagnosis-of-asthma-in-adolescents-and-adults?source=search_result&search=asthma&selectedTitle=3~150. Updated September 10, 2012. Accessed October 20, 2013.
ONLINE NEWSPAPERS Brody JE. In fight against obesity, drink sizes matter. The New York Times. October 22, 2012. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/in-fight-against-obesity-drink-sizes-matter/?_r=0. Accessed November 5, 2013.
eBOOKS & PRINT BOOKS eBooks: Gordis L. Epidemiology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com/#!/browse/book/3-s2.0-C20090629858. Accessed March 25, 2013.
Print books: Gordis L. Epidemiology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2014.
eBOOK CHAPTERS & PRINT BOOK CHAPTERS eBook chapters: Folberg R. The eye. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, Perkins, JA, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com/dura/browse/bookChapter/3-s2.0-C20110055734. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Print book chapters: Folberg R. The eye. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, Perkins, JA, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:1345-1368.
If you use information from an email, this should appear only in the text of your paper and not as an item in the reference list.
Initial data collected from a current clinical trial on the side effects of this drug have indicated strong adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness (John Smith, MD, e-mail communication, April 4, 2013).
LECTURES/CLASS SESSIONS Smith J. Bugs and Drugs. Lecture presented: Biomedical Foundations of Clinical Practice at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; September 24, 2014; Rochester, MI.
CONFERENCE POSTERS & PRESENTATIONS Posters: Smyth ME, Caurdy-Bess L. Legal aid for children: a medical-legal partnership supported by CATCH funding. Poster presented at: 2010 Medical-Legal Partnership Summit; March, 2010; Arlington, VA.
Presentations/Workshops: Smith J. The benefits and challenges of medical-legal partnerships. Oral presentation at: American Public Health Association Annual Meeting; June, 2011; Minneapolis, MN.
For additional information and examples of citing specific sources, check out the AMA Manual of Style Chapter 3: References

STEP 4: Formatting Citations using Mendeley

This may seem like a lot of work and it is! Sometimes it can take you longer to manually format citations than actually complete your paper or project! That is where literature managers, such as Mendeley, come in.

Mendeley is one of many citation management tools you can use to import citations from various databases, organize those citations, create custom bibliographies, and more. It also integrates within Microsoft Word so you can easily insert properly formatted in-text citations and a bibliography at the end of your document without the hassle, time, and effort of manually doing this yourself.

If you have any questions regarding appropriate times to cite, citing in AMA style, or using Mendeley, contact any of the medical library faculty.

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