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Citing Sources Guide

Introduction to AMA

What Is AMA Style?

AMA Style is the official style of the American Medical Association. It is used for writing and formatting research papers. Subjects that use AMA Style are most medicine fields, including Physical Therapy. Check with your instructor to find out which style you should use for your research paper.

Paper Formatting

How to Format Your Paper

AMA Style is not as strict or specific as other citation types. However, it does provide some guidelines for how your paper should look and how to cite all of the resources you used. If you are unsure about something, check with your professor for clarification.

Generally, when setting up your document, make sure you follow these guidelines:

  • Margins should be set to one inch on all sides.
  • Use a standard, readable font like Times New Roman or Arial, size 12.
  • All text lines should be double-spaced including your heading, quotations, and references page.

Make sure your paper is formatted correctly using this AMA Sample Paper.

In Text Citation

In-Text Citation Basics

Every citation style uses two types of citation: in-text and bibliographic.

In-text citation gives credit to someone else's work, right in your paper when you use it. 

In AMA style, in-text citations are noted with small numbers called superscript. The first source that you cite will be number 1, the second source you cite will be number 2, and so on. Any time you refer to that particular source, it will keep the same number. The assigned number will correspond with the order of your references page.

The superscript number will come at the end of the sentence, after the period and quotation marks (if any).


"Social medial is harmful to teens." 1

Video games cause dyslexia.3

If you use more than one source in a sentence, note all numbers at the end.

ExampleMultiple studies have found that bullying is now more prevalent online.2-4, 6

How you create superscript numbers will depend on which word processing software you use.

  • To create superscript numbers in Google Docs, click on "Format" in the menu at the top of the page, then "Text," then "Superscript." Repeat these steps to go back to regular text. Or you can use a keyboard shortcut
  • See the guide below for how to create superscript numbers in Microsoft Word:

Bibliographic Citation: References Page

Bibliographic Citation: References

Bibliographic citation is when you list the sources you've used in your paper. On the very last page of your paper, you need to provide a list of all the outside sources you quoted or paraphrased in the text. In AMA format, this list is called a "References" page.

Just like the rest of your paper, your References page should be in a readable font with 1-inch page margins. Your sources should be listed in the same order they were referred to in your paper. Each citation should be numbered and that number should match the superscript number you used in the text of your paper. See the References Example Page below to get a better idea of what your page should look like.

How to Cite Your Sources

You will need to gather some information from each of your sources, so it's best to have them in front of you. Remember, one of the reasons for citing is so that your reader can find the sources that you refer to. You need to provide as much information as possible so that they can find your sources easily. For most AMA citations, the following rules apply:

  • List the all authors starting with the last name then initials with no periods. Separate each author with commas and put a period after the last author.
    • Smith JK, Jones RR, Thomas A.
  • The title will follow after the author(s)'s name(s). End with another period.
    • Smith JK. Title of Work.
  • The titles of books, journals, magazines, and newspapers are written in italics and are capitalized as they appear in the original source.
    • The New York Times
    • Time Magazine
  • Journal titles are abbreviated according to the National Library of Medicine's Abbreviation List.
    • To find an abbreviation, search for the name of the journal in the NLM Catalog and look for "NLM Title Abbreviation" in the results. 
      • Journal of the American Medical Association = JAMA
      • Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation = J Exerc Rehabil
      • Journal of Orthopedic Sports and Physical Therapy = J Orthop Sports Phys Ther
  • The titles of chapters or articles are written without italics or quotations, and only the first letter of the first word is capitalized, unless the word is a proper noun. The first letter of a subtitle is also capitalized.
    • Utilization of physical therapy intervention among patients with plantar fasciitis in the United States

Take a look at our AMA Citation Guide for specific examples:


When citing books, you must include the author(s)'s name(s), the title of the book, the publishing location, the name of the publisher and the year it was published. Sometimes you will need to include the names of editors or the edition number. 

Example: Collins S. The Hunger Games. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc; 2010.


When citing articles, you must include the author(s)'s name(s), the title of the article, the title of the journal, magazine, or newspaper, the date of publication, the volume and issue numbers, and the page number(s). 

ExampleBoyne P, Billinger S, MacKay-Lyons M, Barney B, Khoury J, Dunning K. Aerobic exercise prescription in stroke rehabilitation: A  web-based survey of US physical therapists. J Nuerol Phys Ther. 2017; 100(3): 1-20.


When citing a website, or a page from a website, you need to provide the author(s)'s name(s), the title of the page you are using, the title of the website, the date the information was published, the date you last accessed the site and the URL or web address of the site. Use "Published" before the date of publication and "Accessed" before the date of last access.

ExampleBerger FK. Managing your depression. Medline Plus. Published 2014. Accessed May 7, 2017.