AMA Citation | Quick Guide & Examples

The American Medical Association (AMA) provides guidance for a citation style called AMA citation format.

AMA is a common citation style in the field of medicine. It’s required when you’re submitting to a journal published by the American Medical Association.

AMA citation format includes:

  • Numerical in-text citations, written in superscript
  • A numbered reference list giving full source information
AMA in-text citation As indicated by Walter et al,1 effecting policy change is a crucial goal of public health campaigns.
AMA reference 1. Walter L, Dumke K, Oliva A, et al. From tobacco to obesity prevention policies: A framework for implementing community-driven policy change. Health Promot Pract. 2018;19(6):856–862. doi:10.1177/1524839918760843.

AMA in-text citation

An AMA in-text citation is just a superscript number (like this: 7) that appears at the point in the text where information from another source is included. The number points the reader to the relevant entry on your reference page.

The superscript number should be placed so that it’s clear what information is being cited. For example, you can place it after you mention the author’s name, or after a quotation. The number appears after any commas, periods, or quotation marks, not before them.

Example: AMA in-text citations
As suggested by Nandita,1 carpal tunnel syndrome can also result from …

To cite multiple sources at the same point, you can include a range using an en dash (to cite two or more sources with consecutive numbering: 1–3) or a list using commas (to cite sources that are not consecutive: 1,4,8). In either case, there’s no space between the numbers.

To include page numbers (for example, when you’re quoting), present them in parentheses after the citation number, again without any spacing. A single page number is preceded by “p,” a range or list of page numbers by “pp.”

Example: AMA in-text citations with page numbers
Multiple sources1,3(pp115–121),5 support this theory. However, Wekesa6(p13) contends that …

AMA references

On the reference page at the end of your paper, you list references containing full information about each of the sources you used. References are numbered in the order they were first cited in the text. Each source is included only once on your reference page—if you need to cite a source repeatedly in the text, you use the same number each time.

A reference typically includes the author’s last name and initials, the source title, information about the publisher or larger publication in which it was included, and the publication date. The exact information and format vary by source type, as shown in the tabs below.

AMA book citation format Author last name Initials. Book Title: Subtitle. Publisher; Year.
AMA reference Conrad P, Gallagher EB. Health and Health Care in Developing Countries: Sociological Perspectives. Temple University Press; 1993.
AMA journal citation format Author last name Initials. Article title. Journal Name. Year;Volume(Issue):Page range. DOI or URL.
AMA reference Shim P, Choi D, Park Y. Association of blood fatty acid composition and dietary pattern with the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients who underwent cholecystectomy. Ann Nutr Metab. 2017;70(4):303–311. doi:10.1159/000475605.
AMA website citation format Author last name Initials. Page title. Website Name. Published Month Day, Year. Accessed Month Day, Year. URL.
AMA reference Murphy B. 5 tips to survive first-year anatomy lessons in medical school. American Medical Association. Published August 24, 2022. Accessed September 2, 2022.

AMA formatting

AMA also provides some general formatting guidelines for presenting your paper and your reference page (though they’re not too specific about the details).

  • Apply a commonly used font such as Times New Roman, in size 12.
  • Add page numbers in the upper right corner of each page (starting with the title page).
  • Use 1-inch margins and indent the first lines of paragraphs by ½ inch.
  • Double-space the text.
  • Use consistent styling (such as bolding, centering, or a different font) for each level of heading in the text.
  • Spell out acronyms the first time they are used.

AMA example paper

Your references appear on a separate page at the end of your text. The heading “References” appears at the top of the page. The references are formatted as a numbered list. Don’t apply any special indent to a reference that runs over onto a second line.

AMA example reference page

Specific guidelines for formatting your paper and reference page can vary. If you’re submitting to an AMA journal, make sure to check their guidelines and follow them carefully.

Frequently asked questions about AMA style

Who uses AMA citation format?

AMA citation format is a citation style designed by the American Medical Association. It’s frequently used in the field of medicine.

You may be told to use AMA style for your student papers. You will also have to follow this style if you’re submitting a paper to a journal published by the AMA.

How do I create AMA in-text citations?

An AMA in-text citation consists of the number of the relevant reference on your AMA reference page, written in superscript1 at the point in the text where the source is used.

It may also include the page number or range of the relevant material in the source (e.g., the part you quoted2(p46)). Multiple sources can be cited at one point, presented as a range or list (with no spaces3,5–9).

How do I create AMA references?

An AMA reference usually includes the author’s last name and initials, the title of the source, information about the publisher or the publication it’s contained in, and the publication date. The specific details included, and the formatting, depend on the source type.

References in AMA style are presented in numerical order (numbered by the order in which they were first cited in the text) on your reference page. A source that’s cited repeatedly in the text still only appears once on the reference page.

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