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Citation Styles

Help with different citation styles including how to format citations.

Format of Reference List Entries

A reference list citation consists of the following elements:

  • Author: Who is responsible for the work?
  • Title: What is the name of this work?
    • This can be a book title, an article title or chapter title, or the webpage title. 
  • Publisher Information: What published this work?
    • This can include the book publisher or the name of journal, magazine or newspaper.
  • Date: When was the work published, uploaded, or last updated?
  • Location: Where can this be found, physically or digitally?
    • This includes volume and/or issue numbers, page numbers and the DOI or URL.

The format of a scholarly journal article entry can be as follows: 

Author Last Name Author First and Middle Initials. Title. Journal Abbreviation. Date;vol#(issue#):pages. DOI. 

Guidelines for Reference List

Title: Make a separate page at the end of your text. Center and bold the word “References” at the top of the page. Do not italicize, underline or use quotation marks.

Order: Unlike other styles like APA and MLA, reference entries are ordered by their appearances in the text, via their reference numbers. Be sure to put the corresponding number before each reference entry. Do not list or reorder reference entries in alphabetical order. 
1. Erickson CK. The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment. W.W. Norton & Co.; 2007. 

Numbering: Match each reference with their respective number. Do not put two references under the same number. 

Indention: Each line of a reference entry is flush with the left margin. Do not indent lines.

Spacing: Citations should be double-spaced in the reference list. One space follows each element of the citation. Do not leave a space between author initials (Jackson BM). Do not leave a space between the year and page numbers (2020:66-67).

Authors: List the author’s last name, followed by a space and their first and middle initials. Do not use periods and spaces to separate initials. Do not use “and” between names of multiple authors. List up to 6 authors.

More Than 6 Authors: If there are more than 6 authors attributed to a source, list the first three authors followed by “et al.” 

Groups as Authors: Write out the group's full name in the reference entry. Do not use an acronym or try to shorten it. 

No Author: If the author is unknown or not listed, start the reference entry with its title. Use the proper capitalization and formatting rules according to the source type. If the author is listed as "Anonymous," use "Anonymous" as the author name. 

Capitalization: For book titles, newspaper or magazine titles, and journal abbreviations or titles, capitalize all important words. For book chapters or article titles, capitalize only the first word and the first word of the subtitle. Exceptions include all proper names and nouns, which are always capitalized.

Journal Abbreviations: If possible, abbreviate and italicize journal names according to the NLM Catalog (on the PubMed Journals database). If a journal doesn't have an abbreviation, write out the full journal name. Do not abbreviate book titles and newspaper or magazine publications.

Italics & Underlining: Book titles, newspaper or magazine publications, and scholarly publications (whether abbreviated or written out) are italicized. Underlining is not used in the reference list, including for DOIs and URLs.

Pagination: Do not use p. or pp. to signify page numbers. Write page numbers next to the publication year, separating them with a semicolon without leaving a space. Example: 2020:66-67.

Editions: Cite the edition of a resource only if it is not the first edition. The edition is shown between title and the publisher. Example: Title. 3rd ed. Publisher.

Abbreviations: Editions and editors are abbreviated to "ed." and "eds.," respectively. Do not use "vol." or "no." abbreviations for volume and issue numbers. 

Publication information: Only include the publisher name. The location of publisher is not necessary.

Publication Date: The date appears after the publisher following a semicolon. Use only the year when citing books and journal articles. Use the exact date when citing magazines, newspapers, newsletters and conference/symposium papers or proceedings. If possible, include the date that a website was created or updated. 

No Date: If a source does not have a date, write "date unknown." Do not use brackets or quotation marks.

Access Date: An access date must be included for digital sources (except for when a DOI is available). Include the exact date of access in format of month day, year. 

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): A unique DOI is assigned to journal articles and always begins with a 10. DOIs provides persistent links to articles, eliminating issues with website URLs changing. However, not all articles have a DOI; additionally, DOIs are visible in some databases but "hidden" in others. If available, a DOI should be listed at the end of the citation. Whenever the DOI is provided, cite it rather than the URL; do not include both.

URL: The URL is used whenever a DOI is not used or found. If there isn't a DOI but the specific URL to the page makes it inaccessible, use the home page URL of the journal or book publisher. For articles, try to include the URL specifically leading to the article.

1. JAMA Network of Editors. AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 11th ed. Oxford University Press; 2019:60.
Chapter 3 was consulted in preparing this guide.

Other Resources Used
University of Illinois Chicago AMA One Page Style Guide - A PDF containing general AMA guidance and examples of common formats.

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