. . . Skip to main content

AMA Style: Citing Your Sources: Reference List

Use AMA Style (American Medical Association Style) to format papers.

Citing and Writing Handouts

Tips for Citations

Capitalization of titles in references:

For all titles in citations, retain the original spelling, abbreviations, and capitalization as originally published.

If no original capitalization is available, follow these rules:

Book titles: capitalize all major words. Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title. Acronyms (NIH, HIV, etc.) should be shown in all caps. 

Chapter titles within books: capitalize only the first word. Acronyms (NIH, HIV, etc.) should be shown in all caps.

Journal titles: capitalize all major words. Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title. Acronyms (NIH, HIV, etc.) should be shown in all caps. 

Journal article titles: capitalize only the first word. Acronyms (NIH, HIV, etc.) should be shown in all caps. 

Personal communications:

AMA Style states that personal communications such as phone calls, emails, conversations, etc. are not included in the reference list. However, you should cite these materials parenthentically within the text. Provide the name and highest academic degree of the author, type of communication, and date sent. If this would compromise patient anonymity, replace the name with a title and remove the day of communication.

Examples:

Individuals on this new experimental drug should not take aspirin. (Sara P. Norris, M.D., email communication, November 3, 2012.)

For all five patients I have seen with this rare disorder, I have prescribed Interferon. (Physician at LAC + USC Healthcare Network, phone call, October 2012).

Anonymous works:

Follow the citation style for book, journal, web site, etc., and omit the author name. 

Non-scholarly materials appearing in journals (editorials, letters to the editor, comments, interviews, etc.):

Include the article type in [brackets] after the title.

Example:

Boden WE, Roberts WC. Williams Edward Boden, MD: a conversation with the editor [Interview]. Am J Cardiol. 2012;110(1):145-159.

How to cite information when there is no guidance on this website:

Read the AMA Manual of Style, section 3, to find guidance for citing many other types of publications and information.

If there is no guidance on your specific type of information, adapt an existing AMA citation style.

Reference List: Basics

General format for all references:

Article: Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title of article. Abbreviated Title of Journal. Year of publication;volume(issue):page numbers.

Book: Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title of Book. Edition number (if beyond first). City, state of publication: publisher name; year of publication. 

Web site: Author(s) (if no author names are given, omit this field). Title of the specific item cited (if none is given, use the name of the organization responsible for the site). Name of the Web site. URL. Published [date]. Updated [date]. Accessed [date]. (If a published or updated date is not given, either write "published/updated date not given" or omit this field).

Author names in all references:

For materials with 1-6 authors or editors, list all author or editor names.

For materials with more than 7 authors or editors, list the first three, then abbreviate with et al. 

Titles of journals:

Use PubMed journal abbreviations. Search the NLM Catalog for journal titles to locate the preferred abbreviation. If no abbreviation is found in the NLM Catalog, consult section 14.10 of the AMA Manual of Style for standard abbreviations.