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Citing Sources of Information: Writing for the Health Sciences: Style Formats

This LibGuide was designed to provide you with assistance in citing your sources when writing an academic paper.

Style Formats

AMA Citation Style Formatting

Long Island University

This site contains a series of color-coded style charts – helpful for quickly identifying parts of a citation.

AMA Style Tips

2 page "Tip Sheet" for AMA formating

APA Formatting and Style Guide

Purdue University

Formatting and style examples.

APA Research Style Crib Sheets

Georgia Southern University

Contains a summary of rules for using APA style.

APA Reference Style Guide

Northern Michigan University

This is a great site; it has flash videos, downloadable PDF guides, and specific health sciences/nursing examples.

APA Sample Paper

Valencia Community College

This sample paper demonstrates the APA style format. It is available as a FLASHpaper (requires FLASH player) or as a PDF document.

APA Style

American Psychological Association

This is the “official” APA Web site.

APA Style Essentials

Vanguard University of Southern California

Provides a common core of elements of APA style.

APA Style Guide to Electronic References

American Psychological Association

Contains pages excerpted from a published style manual which deal specifically with citing electronic content.

Citation Guides and Style Manuals

University of Minnesota – Duluth Library

This site contains links to information on a variety of style guides.

Citing Medicine: the NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers

National Library of Medicine

A comprehensive guide to the NLM style format.

Duke Libraries:

Guide to Library Research : Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

From Duke University's Libraries' "Guide to Library Research;" this site provides a good overview of correct methods for source citing, as well as an overview on plagiarism.

Format a Paper Using APA Guidelines

The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin – Madison

This resource takes a different focus on papers – appearance. It covers margins, spacing, indentations, etc.

A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on Styles Recommended by the American Psychological Association

Capital Community College, Arthur C. Banks, Jr. Library

This guide consists of lots of narrative with embedded links, plus an FAQ, also with links.

The University of Minnesota Libraries Quickstudy:

Library Research Guide

This site contains a programmed, self-study guide to the use of the APA citation style.

MLA Formatting

University of Wisconsin – Madison, The Writing Center

Provides basic help in citing using the MLA style, plus a link to the MLA handbook/Web site

MLA Formatting and Style Guide

Purdue University

More information from The Owl at Purdue on use of MLA format and examples.

MLA In-Text Parenthetical Citations

Duke University Libraries

The parenthetical citation method replaced the use of citational footnotes, e.g. use an author’s name in parenthesis at the end of a sentence in which the quoted/paraphrased material appears. The full bibliographic citation appears in a list at the end of the paper.

A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation

Capital Community College, Arthur C. Banks, Jr. Library

This is a very detailed guide to research techniques. Links to subtopics are located on the left side of the page and the user may follow them to learn about the best approach to formatting a paper using the MLA style.

What is MLA Style?

Modern Language Association

The “official” MLA style site.


AMA Style Manual

Key AMA Style Tips

In-Text Citations

  • Use superscript numbers to cite material, e.g., 1
  • The superscript number is inserted into the document immediately next to the fact, concept, or quotation being cited.
  • If a reference is used many times in one paper, use the same number throughout.



  • Number references consecutively with arabic numerals in the order in which they are cited in the text.
  • If the citation extends to a second line, do NOT indent (as in APA).
  • Journal titles are abbreviated and in italics. 
    • Use PubMed abbreviations for journal titles.  See Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases.
    • If no PubMed journal abbreviation exists, use standard abbreviations in the AMA Manual of Style to construct an abbreviated title. 
    • Single word titles, such as Pediatrics, are not abbreviated.
    • In journal titles, capitalize all major words (Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.)
  • Title of journal article: capitalize only the first word.
  • Journal page numbers and dates: Format is the year followed by a semicolon; the volume number and the issue number (in parentheses) followed by a colon; the initial page number, a hyphen, the final page number followed by a period and are set without spaces.


Hunter RH, Sykes K, Lowman SG, Duncan R, Satariano WA, Belza B. Environmental and policy change to support healthy aging. J Aging Soc Policy.2011;23(4):354-371. doi:10.1080/08959420.2011.605642

  • Citing online journals:  The DOI number is preferred over the URL link.
  • Books:
    • In Book Titles, capitalize all major words (Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.) and put in italics.
    • In Book Chapter Titles: capitalize only the first word.

How to format using AMA style

NOTE:  Unfortunately the AMA Manual of Style is not very specific on formats to use, including a format for the Title Page. Be sure and check with your instructor or the publisher to whom you are submitting a paper for more specific formatting rules.


Formatting a paper means using proper references within the text and bibliography, but also using the stylistic matters laid out in the AMA Manual of Style to format the text. This includes such factors as using headings and capitalizing them appropriately, line spacing, margins, text style issues (such as using "one" or "1", using AM or a.m. or A.M.), placement of page numbers, preferred font and spacing for graphs, preferred size and shape for tables, etc. This guide includes some basic help on manuscript style, but it is not extensive.

Consult the AMA Manual of Style for detailed information on manuscript style.

Acronyms, abbreviations, initialisms:

Acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms are discouraged from use, except for well-known and accepted units of measurement and some well-recognized terms. 

  • If used, spell out at the first use, even if the acronym or initialism is well-known. Do not place periods between the letters of an acronym, abbreviation or initialism.
  • State names should always appear as full names in the text of a manuscript. If included in references, use the two-letter abbreviation.


Numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) should be used in all writing, except when:

  • The number begins the sentence or title
  • Common fractions
  • Ordinals: first through ninth
  • Number spelled out in quotations or titles of works cited.
  • One number may be spelled out, if the sentence requires multiple numbers to be placed next to each other. e.g., "If 12 16-year-olds had this reaction..." should be changed to "If twelve 16-year-olds..."


  • To indicate a time of day, use AM or PM in small capitals. (18.5.3)
  • Conventional 12-hour clock time is preferred. However, 24 hour or military time convention can also be used to convey precise timing when needed, such as when describing drug dosage regimens.


  • When dates are provided in the text, use numerals for day and year, and write out the month, e.g., April 2, 2010.
  • If using dates in a table, you may use numerals for the month (e.g., 4/2/2010).


  • Use SI (Le Système International d'Unitiés) standards for writing measurements. Numbers are always written in plain text, there is a space after the number and prior to the unit, and never a period after the unit (unless it ends a sentence).
  • Do not include commas in longer numbers (e.g., 1600 km, not 1,600 km).

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