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How to cite using AMA in the health sciences

This guide covers the basics of the American Medical Association's (AMA) citation style.

Citing in-text

The AMA Manual of Style requires that you cite each reference in your writing in numerical order as they appear by using superscript numbers.

  • This means that your in-text citations appear in numerical order throughout your work
  • Your reference list will then have the same numbers for the same references, which means your reference list will be ordered by number (and not alphabetically!)

Example of in-text citations

Each reference should be cited in the text, tables, or figures in consecutive numerical order through the use of superscript numbers.

  • The superscript numbers in the below example refer to that item in your reference list
  • Direct quotes: anytime you quote something directly, quotation marks are required

Here is what properly formatted in-text citations would look like in your paper:

This sentence refers to content taken from the first item in your reference list, that is why the number ‘one’ appears at the end of this sentence.1 Keep in mind that if you are quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing information in your work, you need to indicate the original source of information.2 The ‘three’ at the end of this sentence refers to the third item listed in your reference list.3 Notice that the superscript numbers appear immediately after the period.1,3

see more in Step 1: When to cite

Parenthetical citations

Using parenthetical citations, in AMA style, is normally restricted to those publications without reference lists (e.g. newspaper article).1  These should not be used in academic papers.


  1. Fischer, Lauren, and Paul Frank. “3.3 References Given in Text.AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, edited by AMA Manual of Style Committee, Oxford University Press, 2020, p. 0.

Do I need to include page numbers?

When citing AMA style, inclusion of page numbers in an in-text citation is not required, rather IT IS OPTIONAL!

  • However, did you know that some instructors will request that your in-text citations include page numbers? Always talk to your instructor to clarify expectations
  • If you need to include page number(s) in your in-text citation, here are a few examples: 
  • Single direct quote: The Kirk Report states that “85% of surveyed Ontarians indicated that they have called Telehealth Ontario at least once in the last year.”6(p19)
  • Direct quotes from multiple pages of a work: “This study provided insight into incoming pharmacy students’ Facebook activity, as well as their attitudes toward online personas and accountability for information displayed on online social networking sites.”7(pp5-6)
  • Cite multiple page numbers and references: Addison8(pp3,6),9 reported 7 cases in which an allergic reaction was observed.

In-text citation tips

  • When citing use superscript numbers in numerical order based on when they are first used. This will mean that the first in-text citation will alway start at 1
  • If you mention an author in text, only include the author’s last name
    • e.g., Strand et al. noted that pharmacists can play a key role in point of care testing and vaccinations for COVID-19.4
  • When citing a previously cited source, reuse the same superscript number
    • Tip! Citation managers such as Zotero and Mendeley can be very helpful when using a numbered citation style like AMA as it is very easy to make mistakes if you are numbering citations manually
  • A passage can contain more than one citation, e.g. "Patients with various kinds of glaucoma have been found to have normal aqueous humor production.42-43
  • Superscript citations are placed outside periods and commas and inside colons and semicolons