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What is American Medical Association Manual of Style?

The American Medical Association (AMA) Manual of Style is one of the most commonly used style guide by anyone involved in medical and scientific publishing to accredit another author’s work that has been used to contribute or support any content (eg, theory or finding) within their work. This manual covers a broad area of topics for authors and editors in medicine and science.

The AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors is the style guide of the American Medical Association (AMA), written by the editors of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) and the Archives journals, and is currently published by Oxford University Press. It specifies the styles for writing and citations in the AMA publications. It is also used, either in whole or part, by many medical and scientific journals, in textbooks, and in academic papers. This manual was first published in 1962 and since then has gone through various updates; its current edition is the 10th ed. which was released in 2007. The most recent version of AMA style guide can also be accessed online after registering with their website. The online edition includes updates on style changes since the last print edition, blogs, tips for editors, quizzes, etc.

It is important to note that many publications who follow small local style guides cascade over AMA, APA or CSE referencing styles by citing the following text: "follow AMA style unless otherwise specified herein" or "for issues not addressed herein, follow AMA style".

AMA referencing system provides styles that help the medical authors and editors produce manuscripts that are well-organized and easily understandable. The manual consists of clean and clear styles for grammar, use of punctuations, capitalization, medical indexes and non-English words to mention a few. It provides styles for writing terminologies including abbreviations, Greek letters, nomenclature, etc. The style guide also underlines styles regarding the correct and preferred writing format for units of measurement, study designs and statistics, typography, glossary of publishing terms, resources, etc.

How to cite using AMA reference style?

In AMA style, superscripted Arabic numerals (starting with 1) are used as citations to reference a work or parts of a work inside the text of a manuscript. Pieces of content are referenced using numbers in chronological number from the beginning to the end. Only the superscripted reference numbers appear within the text itself whereas the full references preceded by the same numbers are listed in the References section at the end of the document.

To write an AMA citation, insert the superscripted number at the relevant location in the text. Reference numbers should appear after periods and commas and inside of colons and semicolons.

If the reference is from a specific page then use a colon; no space between the year, colon and page number.

Different types of reference sources require different set of information to help the user locate the original source. Hence, AMA has specified different formats and guidelines for writing different source types of references. For books, the AMA reference system allows to include up to 6 authors in the citation; for more than 6 authors, the names of the first 3 authors are written followed by “et al”. In the absence of any author, the title of the reference source is used. For periodicals such as journals, websites, magazines, newspapers, etc., use abbreviated titles. You can check for the proper abbreviated titles at the NLM (National Library of Medicine) website.

For books or chapters from a book, the AMA style requires you to cite the name of the author(s) of that chapter, the main author of the textbook from where the chapter has been sourced from, the page number range, the edition number, the name, place of the publisher and the year of publishing. Similarly, for journals, the author names(s), the journal title, the year of publication, the volume and the issue #, and the page number ranges are mandatory fields of entry. For websites, the http link, the copyright date, updated date and the accessed date are mandatory information when writing a citation.

AMA referencing examples

In-text citation examples:

Between 1977 and 2002, the intake of “caloric” beverages doubled in the United States.1,2

More than half3,4 of people in the United States still breathe air dirty enough to cause health problems.

More than half of people in the United States still breathe air dirty enough to cause health problems.5,6

Helpful Tips for Your Citation


Our citation guides provide detailed information about all types of sources in MLA, APA, Chicago and Turabian styles.


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