Skip to Main Content

The Queen's Health Systems: Style Guides

Hawai'i Medical Library

How to Cite a Paper

When you research a topic you may use information from articles, books, or the Web to support your ideas. However, you must credit the original authors of these sources by citing them. To cite means that you state where you found the information so that others can find the exact item again. 

There are two most frequently used ways to cite a paper in the scientific and medical communities: APA and AMA. 

APA, American Psychological Association, is used for scientific and technical research. Most journals will require you to cite references using the APA method. 

AMA, American Medical Association, was designed for writing medical research. This method is used mostly for writing research projects or clinical trials.  

APA Style (7th Edition)

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within hard and social sciences writing. APA uses parenthetical citations within the text and a corresponding bibliography or references list at the end of the paper.

Examples of APA citations: 

Journal article – one author: Irvine N. J. (2020). Anti-HMGCR Myopathy: A Rare and Serious Side Effect of Statins. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM33(5), 785–788.

Journal article - multiple authors: Wu, J., Mamas, M. A., Mohamed, M. O., Kwok, C. S., Roebuck, C., Humberstone, B., Denwood, T., Luescher, T., de Belder, M. A., Deanfield, J. E., & Gale, C. P. (2020). Place and causes of acute cardiovascular mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Heart (British Cardiac Society), heartjnl-2020-317912. Advance online publication.

Website: American Psychological Association. (n.d.) Treatment for anorexia and bulimia.


Citation Generator

AMA Style

References are found at the end of a manuscript and are titled “Reference List,” and each item should be listed in numerical order (two references should not be combined under a single reference number) as opposed to alphabetically. Additionally, each item should be single-spaced.

Sample Reference

AuthorLastname, FirstInitialMiddleInitial. Title in sentence case. Abbreviated Journal Title in Title Case. Year Month Day; volume(Issue#): PP-PP.

When writing up your references list, be sure to always include the last name and the first and middle initial of the authors without punctuation. However, do use a comma to separate more than one author in a single bibliographic group (e.g., Wheeler T, Watkins PJ).

 If the author's middle initial isn't available, omit it. The abbreviations "Jr" and "Sr" ("Junior" and "Senior") may follow authors' names when applicable (e.g., Jameson JJ Jr). Use Roman numerals to signify "2nd," "3rd," "4th," and so on (e.g., Doe JF III).

Use sentence case for all titles (capitalize only the first word of the title). Abbreviate and italicize names of journals according to the listing in the National Library of Medicine database

Additionally, each reference is divided with periods into bibliographic groups; each bibliographic group contains bibliographic elements, which may be separated using the following punctuation marks:

  • A comma: if the items are sub-elements of a bibliographic element or a set of closely related elements (e.g., the authors’ names).
  • A semicolon: if the elements in the bibliographic group are different (e.g., between the publisher’s name and the copyright year) or if there are multiple occurrences of logically related elements within a group; also, before volume identification data.
  • A colon: before the publisher’s name, between the title and the subtitle, and after a connective phrase (e.g., “In,” “Presented at”).

See the following examples:

1.  Wheeler T, Watkins PJ. Cardiac denervation in diabetes. BMJ. 1973 Dec 8; 4: 584-586.

2. O'Keefe M, Coat S. Consulting parents on childhood obesity and implications for medical student learning. J Paediatr Child Health. 2009 Sep 14; 45(10): 573-576.

Copyright © 2020 The Queen's Medical Center, Hawaii Medical Library. All rights reserved. Send questions, suggestions and comments to the HML librarian via email at