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What Is AMA Citation Format?

May 16, 2020

AMA stands for the American Medical Association. AMA citation style is widely used in the medical field and scientific associations. Researchers, who contribute to various scientific and medical journals, as well as scholarly articles, textbooks, and other materials, utilize AMA citation format to cite their texts correctly. 

The same as APA or CSE citation formats, AMA style is commonly recognized and accepted. None the less, sometimes small publications choose to follow local style guidelines. Clearly define which format is appropriate for your project. Ask your instructor or professor about the required citation style. Maybe consult the organization you write for, so that you could produce a flawless paper that acknowledges source materials and gives credit to other researchers.

Much like APA or CSE formats, the AMA citation style is basically a set of specific guidelines. It is designed to make sure that writers cite the reference documents used in their projects clearly and correctly. Besides, the AMA format ensures that the authors provide credit and acknowledge the use of other individual’s works. The main idea is to prevent plagiarism – a very serious offense.

Nowadays, as we are trying to keep up with technological progress, developers create online citation instruments to automate the whole process. Microsoft Word and other word processors have a built-in function to generate citations automatically. 

Guide on AMA Citation Format

Guidelines provided by the American Medical Association ensure that citations remain consistent throughout the text. You can find these guidelines in the AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, which is now in the 10th edition. This manual defines how authors should cite their works depending on the source they used. The textbook may even contain some examples of AMA style!

AMA citation guide points out that using other researchers’ ideas should be acknowledged by providing information about the originating sources. This refers to most types of work, including yet not constrained to papers, laboratory reports, blog entries, presentations, and so on. 

Citations in the Main Body

You should cite every source in numerical order with Arabic numbers, which are widely used in everyday life – 1, 2, 3, and so on. Roman numbers (like I, II, III) are used for different purposes and should not be utilized for making citations.  

Place the numbers on the outside of punctuation marks (commas, periods, colons, etc.). Consider the examples below. With multiple citations, place a comma without a space between numbers. Join the closed series with a hyphen.

  • Numerical citation: The medical association has reviewed some regulations. (23)
  • Multiple citations: They obtained the following results (3,4:)
  • Closed series: As mentioned before, (23-26,31)

AMA In-Text Citation

As indicated by the AMA Manual, in-text citation in AMA style implies that the writer should plainly refer to each source they use, keeping a numerical order and utilizing a superscript. Superscript means that characters (letters, symbols, figures) are written above the line in smaller font.

To follow the guidelines, you should:

  • List all your in-text citations in numerical order
  • Mark the in-text citations and the reference page with identical numbers
  • List all the sources numerically (not alphabetically) on the reference page

Every source should include the AMA style citation. Everything you find in the text, tables, statistics, and figures should be cited numerically using superscript numbers. In the case of direct quotes, don’t forget to use quotation marks.

Example: “The medical association has reviewed some regulations and came to certain conclusions concerning research papers.”

Page numbers are optional in AMA style citation, but most professors recommend including them in your paper. Here is how to use the page numbers:

Example: The Medical Journal discovered the major dietary risk factors. 9(pp7-8)

AMA Book Citation

Book citations are not so straightforward. The appropriate citation style is based upon several factors: the number of writers, the presence of an editor (or editors), if the book was published by an association, whether you cited the particular chapter, or if you discovered it online.    

Consider several examples below.

One author

First, provide the author’s surname and first initial. Then write the title of the book. Next, insert the location: the name of the publisher; publication date.

Example: Jameson M. The Secrets of Time. Burton, MI: Blackwell Books; 2001

Two to six writers

Writer 1, Writer 1, Writer 3. The title of the book. Location: the name of the publisher; publication date.

Example: Scott B, Jameson C. The Secrets of Time. Burton, MI: Blackwell Books; 2001

More than seven authors

Writer 1, Writer 1, Writer 3, et al. The title of the book. Location: the name of the publisher; publication date.

Example:Scott B, Jameson C, Keats D, et al. The Secrets of Time. Burton, MI: Blackwell Books; 2001

Citing a chapter from an online source (ebook, Internet publication)

First, provide the author’s surname and first initial. Then write the chapter title. In: the editors. eBook title. Based on: [edition details]. Edition. Next, insert the location: the name of the publisher; publication date. URL. The date you accessed the source

Example: Scott B. What do you know about time? In: Blackwell Books. The Secrets of Time. Based on: Blackwell Books. The Land of Times. 3d ed. Burton, MI: Hills; 2010 Accessed May 23, 2015.

Referencing an edited book (or a chapter in it)

First, provide the author’s surname and first initial, ed. the title of the book. Write the location: publisher’s name; publication date.

Example: Scott B, ed. The Land of Times. Burton, MI: Blackwell Books; 2001

When referencing a chapter, first provide the author’s surname and first initial, then chapter title, in the editor’s name, ed. the title of the book. Write the location: publisher’s name, publication date, pages.

Example: Scott B. The Land Forgotten. In: Blackwell Books, ed. The Land of Times and Dreams. Burton, MI: Blackwell Books; 2005: 160 – 176

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AMA Citation Page

We have already mentioned that AMA citations should be listed on a reference page. They should be listed numerically (as they appear). 

Here are some tips and guidelines provided by the AMA style manual:

  • Use numerical order instead of alphabetical
  • Use regular numbers in the reference list instead of superscript
  • Flush-left the text on your reference page
  • Single-space every item on the reference list. Microsoft Word may be set to double-spacing, but you can adjust it. Just press CTRL-ENTER after each line 
  • You can find sample reference lists in the manual

Concluding Words

AMA citation style is commonly used among the members of the medical community. Professional researchers use the AMA guidelines to cite their papers properly. On the other hand, AMA format can be easily included in regular studies. Students use a lot of source materials, sometimes make direct quotes and cite parts of texts. In this case, their essay should be cited properly and acknowledge the original works.

AMA style is similar to APA format, but it has its particular rules. We recommend checking and rechecking your papers multiple times. When you are not sure about certain things, it is better to consult a reliable source of information (like AMA manual).

Here are things that require your special attention:

  • Spelling

You should use symbols and spelling that is identical with the source materials. Example: AMA & APA are NOT the same things as AMA and APA.

  • Punctuation marks

Make sure that you use the same punctuation marks that can be found in the original work. Also, pay attention to the specific requirements for punctuation (included in AMA guidelines).

  • Capitalization, italicization, bold font

You should know what to italicize and what to write in uppercase. Do not use it randomly, but follow the guidelines. AMA capitalization rules are the same as general guidelines. You probably know that you should capitalize proper nouns, titles and abbreviations.

  • Spacing

Make sure that your reference list is single-spaced

  • Abbreviations

In AMA style abbreviates the titles of journals. This is an exception.

Like other formats, AMA style requires you to be scrupulous and bring special attention to detail. It may be a real challenge for people who do not write papers regularly. Needless to say, it is time-consuming and sometimes confusing. Even well-researched and thoroughly checked papers sometimes get turned down because of small citation mistakes. Of course, you can avoid rejection if you understand the AMA citation style well. Another option is to use automatic generators for citations.

Proper citing is crucial for your work’s success. If you don’t work thoroughly on proper citations, there is a risk that your paper can be considered plagiarism. This is strictly prohibited and may lead to failing grades or even expulsion.

If you experience difficulties while citing your work, it is better to consult specialists and ask for advice. You can seek help online. Professionals will help you avoid plagiarism and guide you in the process of writing your paper.

Bryan Hokenson
Author: Bryan Hokenson

Bryan Hokenson has graduated from Princeton University and holds a Ph.D. in math and computer sciences. He also has a certificate of completing IT courses and is proficient in all topics related to math, computer science, and IT technologies. Bryan has a special interest in engineering and is currently studying this field more thoroughly. His writing experience in the mentioned fields is 7 years.

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