Ama Citation Format



What is AMA?

AMA is an abbreviation for the American Medical Association and it is the most popular and widely used citation style in medical and scientific circles. Every author that is publishing a manuscript in medical and scientific journals, health journals or any other textbooks uses AMA citation format requirements.

As well as CSE or APA, ASA, AMA is well-known and popular, so it is easily recognized among other styles. However, there are still a few institutions that prefer sticking to less known guides. That is why your task is to ask your professor (or a company you are writing for) what citation style is preferred. In such a way you’ll deliver a complete manuscript that clearly refers all the contributors from source texts.

History of AMA citation format

At the moment we use the 10th AMA Citation edition. But first it was introduced as AMA Manual of Style: Guide for Editors and Authors and since then has been the basic document for the American Medical Association.

Originally these guidelines were written by the Journal of American Medical Association editors and then reprinted in Oxford University Press.

These guidelines act as a basis for writing and citing sources in research and medical communities. The latest edition has been just updated and gives students a chance not only to cite sources properly but also contains online information like quizzes, blogs, and tips.



AMA citation style: its format

As well as guidelines for any other formatting styles, AMA follows clear recommendations and contains a full set of requirements to make sure that authors clearly refer source texts and are able to give proper credit to other scientists and researchers.

We are lucky to live in 2019 because some time ago writers had to follow all the requirements from A to Z on their own. Nowadays, with the advancement of technologies, developers introduced us to a set of tools, which allow citing sources automatically. For example, MS Word contains a built-in citation instrument, where you can choose the required formatting style and simply wait while the program will do the rest (but you should still check the result manually).

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AMA citation guidelines

American Medical Association created a guide to make sure that all the citations are consistent and clear. Its 10th edition indicates how different sources should be cited considering the medium of the original paper.

The first and the most important thing you need to remember is that every time you want to use the ideas of other authors, it is necessary to acknowledge the original source. Such rules apply to the majority of works, including essays and lab reports, presentations, posts, research papers and much more. There are even AMA citation examples in textbooks.

For example, the above references were taken from the AMA Manual of Style: Guide for Editors and Authors. 

Every source must be cited using Arabic numbers. These are the numbers that most of us use in regular life -1,2,3. To compare, Roman numerals are totally different ( I, II, III) and have a completely different meaning, so you shouldn’t use them in your citations.

Numbers should be placed outside periods or commas, as well as inside colons or semicolons. We have provided examples further in the text.

If there are several citations, a comma without space should be placed between every number and series should be jointed together with hyphens.

Numerical citation example: International Health Institution has conducted its own investigation. (4)

Multiple citation example: The results were as follows (7,8:)

Closed series example: As it was already stated, (11-13,56)



In-text citations

Based on AMA citation format requirements, the author must cite every source and reference using numerical order or superscript.

Superscript is a writing style when the text is situated a bit above the regular text line and the font size is smaller.

Here are the peculiarities you need to keep in mind:

  • All in-text citations follow a numerical order through the whole text;
  • In-text citations and a reference list are marked with the same numbers;
  • The reference list is marked numerically (not alphabetically).

Every quote, source or reference must contain citations based on AMA requirements. They include data from text, figures, statistics, and tables. If you are citing a direct quote, you should use quotation marks.

However, page numbers may be optional even though some tutors require them.

Book citations

Citing a book in AMA citation format is not as simple as citing an article, because it depends on a variety of factors. They include the number of authors, the presence of an editor, the number of editions, whether the book was created by a certain institution or if citation originates from a chapter or from an online version.

Below you will find a few examples on the majority of cases. If your method is absent, you can always turn to the online AMA Manual of Style.

Books with one author

Surname and initials. Title of the book. Location: Name of the publisher; publication date.

Smith A. Who we are. Kent, CA: Publish Me; 2011

Books with a maximum of 6 authors

Author A, author B. Title of the book. Location: Name of the publisher; publication date.

Smith A, Smith B. Who we are. Kent, CA: Publish Me; 2011

Books with more than seven authors

Author A, Author B, author C, et al. Title of the book. Location: Name of the publisher; publication date.

Smith A, Smith B, Smith C, Who we are. Kent, CA: Publish Me; 2011

Citing a chapter in an ebook or online publication

Surname and initials. Title of the chapter. In: Editors. Title. Based on: [details on edition]. Edition. Location: Publisher’s name; publication date. URL. Date of access

Smith A. Our origin. In: Original Press. Who we are. Based on Original Press. Who our children are. 3rd ed. Kent, CA: Johns; 2011. Accessed October 21, 2014.

Citation page

We have already mentioned that in AMA citation format every in-text citation must be backed with a corresponding entry in the reference page, which uses the same numerical order.

Here are the official guidelines and tips:

  • The reference list is organized numerically;
  • You can find examples of a reference list online or on 753 pages of 10th edition;
  • You need to use regular numbers in a reference list, not superscript;
  • The text in the reference list is flush left;
  • Every item of a reference list must be single-spaced.

For example,

1. Jones A. We all need patience. 2nd Kent, CA: Original Press; 2011

2. Smith B, Williams K. What are we waiting for? Only Time.2014; 11(8): 129-132.


AMA citation format is usually used by medical institutions when works are cited in articles, journals, textbooks or laboratory papers. However, more and more often this formatting style is found in other academic writing assignments.

You need to remember that every time you are citing someone else’s thoughts and ideas, you need to cite them properly.

Even though AMA has many similarities with APA or Chicago, it still has a few distinguishing features. So if you have any doubts or worries, it is better to consult official guidelines and to see what the best way to cite your particular source is.

Remember that citing is an important part of the writing process. If you decide to skip this stage, you may ruin your work or will even be accused of plagiarism. In case you still doubt whether you are referencing sources correctly, there are many online tools and professional paper helpers that are always there to assist you with mastering AMA citation format.