Citation Guide

Basic Overview of AMA Style

Icon for American Medical Association (AMA)  AMA Citation Handout (PDF): a three-page quick guide to citing in AMA format

Every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s work, you must tell us:

  • who wrote the work
  • what is it called
  • and where can we find a copy.

You give us this information in two places:

  1. In the paragraph where you are quoting or paraphrasing. This is called an In Text Citation because you will put brief information about the work in the text of the paper. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column.
  2. In the References page at the end of the paper. This is where you put all of the information we need to find a copy of the works you used in your paper. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column.

We also recommend these in-depth guides:

Commonly Used Sources

Sources of Full-Text Journal Articles: Online Databases and Websites

Some online databases, such as CINAHLMEDLINE, and ProQuest, can be accessed through the Library’s website. The PTNow web portal (PTA students have logins) provides access to additional online databases.

Basic AMA Format for an Online Journal Article

Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title of article: lower case letter for subtitle. Abbreviated Title of Journal.  Year;Volume number(Issue number):page numbers. Date published online [if given]. Date accessed [if using URL]. DOI or URL

Article with DOI:

Propper L, Cumby J, Uher R, et al. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder in offspring of parents with depression and bipolar disorder. Br J Psychiatry. June 2017;210(6):408-412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.117.198754

Article without DOI:

Smith JM, Sullivan SJ, Baxter GD. Massage therapy: more than a modality.  NZ J Phys Ther. 2010;38(2):44-51. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://ezproxy.nwtc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,cpid&custid=s6269745&db=ccm&AN=2010738302&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Basic AMA Format for Books

Book

Author AA, Author BB. Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Edition.  Name of publisher; Year of publication.

Cornwall MW, Harris JH, Nyre E. Imaging Handbook for Physical Therapists. Wolters Kluwer Health; 2015.

E-Book

Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Edition. Name of publisher; Year of publication. Date accessed. URL

Scott-Conner, CEH. Scott-Conner & Dawson Essential Operative Techniques and Anatomy. 4th ed. Wolters/Kluwer; 2014.  Accessed February 1, 2020.  https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/nwtc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3417881

Book Chapter

Author AA, Author BB. Title of book chapter: lower case subtitle. In: Editor AA, Editor BB, eds. Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Edition.  Name of publisher; Year of publication:page numbers.

Burnfield JM, Cesar GM, Norkin CC. Examination of gait. In O'Sullivan SB, Schmitz TJ, Fulk GD, eds. Physical Rehabilitation. 7th ed. F.A. Davis; 2019:228-293.

What if there are more than six authors or no author?

 

Include the following elements, if available:

  • Authors' names 
  • Title of the specific item cited
  • Name of the website
  • Date published
  • Date updated
  • Date accessed
  • URL

What if there are more than six authors or no author?

Examples

Lourenzi VG. Effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in patients with acute low back pain. ClinicalTrials.gov. Updated April 28, 2015. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02427425

Walk this way: a resource on state and local policies that support physical activity and wellness in and around the workplace. ChangeLab Solutions. July 2017. Accessed February 13, 2020. http://www.changelabsolutions.org/sites/default/files/Workplace_Wellness-GUIDEBOOK-FINAL-20170714.pdf

Physical therapy guide to balance problems. APTA ChoosePT Guide. February 4, 2015. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-balance-problems

In-Text Numbered Citations

When you quote or paraphrase from a source (book, article, or webpage) in your paper, you need to insert an in-text citation. 

AMA requires that in-text citations be cited numerically in consecutive order using superscript Arabic numerals.

Use the numerals outside periods and commas.  

  • In a recent report,1 experts stated that the earth is round.

Multiple sources can be cited together.

  • Other reports2,3 recommend eating spinach and oranges.

Add page numbers to direct quotations.  Put the page numbers in parentheses after the citation number.

  • “..and the home of the brave.”4(p.45)

You can create a superscript numeral in Word by highlighting the desired number and clicking on the superscript button in the Font section at the top of the screen.

Creating a References Page

  • This is a separate page at the end of your paper. Each citation in the text must be listed on the References page; each listing on the References page must appear in the text. 
  • Left-justify the word References.  Then double space and start your list with 1.
  • References are listed numerically in the order they are cited in the text of the paper.  Put a period after each number.
  • Single space each reference.  Double space between references.
  • If the citation extends to a second line, do NOT indent.

Sample AMA References Page

References

  1. Cornwall MW, Harris JH, Nyre E. Imaging Handbook for Physical Therapists. Wolters Kluwer Health; 2015.
  2. Rolf C. The Sports Injuries Handbook: Diagnosis and Management.  A&C Black; 2007.  Accessed June 5, 2019.  http://site.ebrary.com/lib/nwtc/Doc?id=10236955
  3. Brown CJ, Flood KL. Mobility limitation in the older patient: A clinical review. JAMA. 2013;310(11):1168-1177.
  4. Smith JM, Sullivan SJ, Baxter GD. Massage therapy: More than a modality.  J Phys Ther. 2010;38(2): 44-51. Published July 2010. Accessed June 5, 2014. https://ezproxy.nwtc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,cpid&custid=s6269745&db=ccm&AN=2010738302&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  5. How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Last reviewed January 9, 2020. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm 

Authors' Names In-Text Citations

AMA in-text citations consist of superscript Arabic numerals to number each of the sources in your text. The sources are numbered consecutively, and these in turn refer to the sources listed on the References page at the end of your paper.

AMA does not require that you use author names in the text, but you may use author names as long as they are followed by the numbered citations. Use last names only. 

One or two authors, include both names.

  • Dow and Jones2 reported on the medical error scandal. 

Three or more authors, include the first author's last name and then et al.                                                                                                         

  • Smith et al3 recommended the newest biologic.

Authors' Names References Page

Last name first and then abbreviate first and middle names to just the first initial. There are no spaces, commas, or periods in between the first and middle initials. End with a period. 

Two to six authors: Place a comma between authors.

  • Mueller BN, Severson TS.

More than six authors: List the first three authors followed by et al.

  • LaPlante KA, Chapman JM, Kamps AB, et al.

Editors instead of authors: Place a comma after the editors' names and add eds. End with a period.

  • Parish CC, Huss AN, eds.

No authors: Start with the title of the item (book, article, web resource)

Books

Author AA, Author BB. Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Edition.  Name of publisher; Year of publication.

What if there are more than six authors or no author?

 

Examples

Cornwall MW, Harris JH, Nyre E. Imaging Handbook for Physical Therapists. Wolters Kluwer Health; 2015.

Gest TR. Lippincott Atlas of Anatomy. 2nd ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2020.

Taylor JA. Physiology of Exercise in Spinal Cord Injury. Springer; 2017.

Chapters

Author AA, Author BB. Title of book chapter: lower case subtitle. In: Editor AA, Editor BB, eds. Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Edition.  Name of publisher; Year of publication:page numbers.

What if there are more than six authors or no author?

 

Example

Burnfield JM, Cesar GM, Norkin CC. Examination of gait. In O'Sullivan SB, Schmitz TJ, Fulk GD, eds. Physical Rehabilitation. 7th ed. F.A. Davis; 2019:228-293.

E-Books

Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Edition. Name of publisher; Year of publication. Date accessed. URL

What if there are more than six authors or no author?

Examples

Scott-Conner, CEH. Scott-Conner & Dawson Essential Operative Techniques and Anatomy. 4th ed. Wolters/Kluwer; 2014.  Accessed February 1, 2020.  http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/nwtc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3417881

Noyes F, Barber-Westin S. ACL Injury: Everything You Need to Know to Make the Right Treatment Decision. Publish Green; 2016. Accessed February 14, 2020. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/nwtc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4517475

Journal Articles

Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title of article: lower case letter for subtitle. Abbreviated Title of Journal.  Year;Volume number(Issue number):page numbers. Date published online [if given]. Date accessed. DOI or URL

Some online databases, such as CINAHL, MEDLINE, and ProQuest, can be accessed through the Library’s website

The PTNow web portal (PTA students have logins) provides access to additional online databases.

 

Examples

Article with DOI:

Propper L, Cumby J, Uher R, et al. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder in offspring of parents with depression and bipolar disorder. Br J Psychiatry. June 2017;210(6):408-412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.117.198754

Article without DOI:

Smith JM, Sullivan SJ, Baxter GD. Massage therapy: more than a modality.  NZ J Phys Ther. 2010;38(2):44-51. Accessed June 5, 2019. https://ezproxy.nwtc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,cpid&custid=s6269745&db=ccm&AN=2010738302&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Print Journal Articles

Author AA. Title of article: lower case letter for subtitle. Abbreviated Title of Journal.  Year;Volume number(Issue number):page numbers.

Use the NLM Catalog Journal Search to find out the abbreviation for your journal title. 

What if there are more than six authors or no author?

Examples

Brown CJ, Flood KL. Mobility limitation in the older patient: A clinical review. JAMA. 2013;310(11):1168-1177.

Sheng A, Dalziel P, Liteplo A, Fagenholz P, Noble V. Focused assessment with sonography in trauma and abdominal computed tomography utilization in adult trauma patients: Trends over the last decade. Emerg Med Int. 2013;2013:678380. 

Webpages

Include the following elements, if available:

  • Authors' names 
  • Title of the specific item cited
  • Name of the website
  • Date published
  • Date updated
  • Date accessed
  • URL

What if there are more than six authors or no author?

Examples

Lourenzi VG. Effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in patients with acute low back pain. ClinicalTrials.gov. Updated April 28, 2015. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02427425

Walk this way: a resource on state and local policies that support physical activity and wellness in and around the workplace. ChangeLab Solutions. July 2017. Accessed February 13, 2020. http://www.changelabsolutions.org/sites/default/files/Workplace_Wellness-GUIDEBOOK-FINAL-20170714.pdf

Physical therapy guide to balance problems. APTA ChoosePT Guide. February 4, 2015. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-balance-problems

Facebook, Twitter & Blog Posts

APTA Facebook page. Accessed February 14, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/AmericanPhysicalTherapyAssociation/

@AMAManual. Listen to the JAMA podcast on Parkinson disease for an explanation of why AMA style does not use the 's (possessive eponym). We chime in at around 18:00. Posted February 11, 2020. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://twitter.com/AMAManual/status/1227290871273525249

Peters JF. Four things good physical therapists understand about people with chronic conditions. APTA The Pulse blog. Posted February 4, 2020. Accessed February 15, 2020. http://www.apta.org/Blogs/Pulse/2020/2/ChronicConditions/

Dissertations

Author AA. Title of Dissertation: Capital Letters for Subtitle. Dissertation. Name of University; Year of publication. Date accessed. URL

Example

Ruby CE. Analysis of Motivation and Demographic Factors that Influence Physical Therapists' Decisions to Attain the Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Dissertation. Indiana University of Pennsylvania; 2008. Accessed March 4, 2020.  https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a7e0/8299137d13f2be5a600026ec003ecebf3b30.pdf

Personal Communications

If you want to cite an interview, email or other personal communication, you only need to do so in the body of your paper; you do NOT need to include it in your References.

Include the date of the communication and how it was documented (letter email, document).

Accepted formats include:

According to a letter from B. N. Pence, in September 2019, ...

Similar findings have been noted by B. N. Pence (email, September 15, 2019).

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