Skip to Main Content

AMA Style

Director of Helmke Library

Profile Photo
Shannon Johnson
(260) 481-6502

AMA Style

“References serve 3 primary purposes—documentation, acknowledgement, and directing the reader to additional resources. Authors may cite a reference to support their own arguments or lay the foundation for their theses (documentation); as a credit to the work of other authors (acknowledgment); or direct the reader to more detail or additional resources (directing or linking).” AMA Manual of Style, 11th ed. (Chapter 3: References)

Reference List

  • List of each reference used at the end of the paper. The purpose of the list is to make information retrievable.  Citations should have enough information to find the resource again.
  • List goes in the order the references were cited in the text and will contain only the references cited.

In Text Citations

  • Each reference should be cited in the text using consecutive numerical superscript and correspond to your list.
  • Superscript numbers are outside periods and comma but inside colons and semicolons.
  • When 2 or more references are cited in a paper, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series and commas without space to separate others.
  • Page numbers are included in the superscript if citing different pages of a reference in different in-text citations.  Example: 3(p17)


Single Author/Editor:

Author last name Initials. Title of the Book. #th ed. Publisher's Name; year.

If an edited volume, put eds. after the name.

Postesr M. Information Now: Impatient Users. 2nd ed. Random University Press; 2006.


Multiple Authors/Editors:

List all authors and editors up to six. Use et. al. after six.

Example: Poster MR, Bob D, Jones RC. eds.


Book Chapters:

Chapter Author last name Initials. Title of the Chapter. In: Book Author last name Initials. Title of the Book. #th ed. Publisher's Name; year: page numbers

If more than six authors for a book where you are only citing the chapter, list the first three and the use


 Pui AR, Rob M, June MK. Disorders of calcium and phosphorus homeostasis. In: Dipso JT, Albert RR, Young WC, et al, eds. Mother of an Example. 7th ed. Memo graph Publications; 2022:89-106.


Electronic Books

Include the DOI  on the end of the citation if available.  If no DOI, list the date Accessed and the url, if using a subscription based product please use the stable permilink.



Accessed date- Accessed January 10, 2022.


Author last name Initial, 2nd author, 3rd author (if more then six, use et. al. after 3rd) Article title. Journal Title. Year; volume(issue):pages.

Cullen K , Bartholomew L , Parcel G. Girl Scouting: An effective channel for nutrition education. J Nutr Educ. 1997;29(2):86-91.

If DOI is available, use at the end of the citation. 

Most journal titles are abbreviated.  There are standards for how this is done, please see the abbreviation section of this guide.

AMA Style Journal Abbreviations

One of the major hallmarks of AMA is the use of abbreviated journal titles. This makes AMA Style more complicated to learn than APA or MLA and complicates the use of citation management software greatly.  It is still possible to use programs like Endnote or RefWorks, but you will often need to add the abbreviation to the imported record.

There are official rules for how each title is abbreviated in the manual but a fast way to find the correct abbreviation is to use PubMed.  Journals indexed by PubMed will have the abbreviation listed in the database. 

Keep in mind:

  • Single-word journal titles are not abbreviated. Example: Lancet
  • Journal is abbreviated J
  • In journal titles, capitalize all major words (Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.)
  • Not all journals are in PubMed and may require manually compiling the abbreviation. Section 13.10 has more information and a list of common journal titles but more information is included below if you do not have access to the manual.

Using Pubmed to Find Abbreviations

  • Use the link to the PubMed catalog above
  • Search the journal - if it appears you are in luck!Image title - NLM Catalog: Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases.  Displays a search box for the catalog with the journal title The journal of peptide research : official journal of the American Peptide Society inserted into the bar
  • The NLM Title Abbreviation will appear on the record for the journal Item record for the journal of peptide research with the abbreviation J Pept Res circled in red

Journal is not in PubMed

If the journal is not in PubMed it may be in section 13.10 of the manual OR you can construct the abbreviation manually. 

To make an abbreviation, a simple trick is to use the PubMed catalog and look up other journals that share the same words in the title.  Each title word is always abbreviated the same way.  For example, if you want to know how to abbreviate the Journal of Education Policy, which is not itself in PubMed, you can look up any journal with the word education in the title and find that it is abbreviated Educ.  Do the same for Policy and find it is spelled out and not abbreviated. So the correct format for this title would be J Educ Policy

Common Abbreviations:

  • Academic - Acad
  • Advanced - Adv
  • American - Am
  • Annals - Ann
  • Archives - Arch
  • Dental - Dent
  • Journal - J
  • Medicine - Med
  • Nursing - Nurs

More Guides