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AMA and APA Citation and Style Guide: Home


There are two main purposes for references in a scholarly publication:

  • To credit the work and document any facts that are not common knowledge by authors and others that had an impact on the present work.
  • To direct the reader to those original works to review for themselves.

 The American Medical Association (AMA) and American Psychological Association (APA) are two commonly used styles in the fields of medicine and social sciences. There are many more styles to choose from but this guide will go over the basics for these two styles.


This guide covers the most common questions using the AMA and APA style and is not intended to be the complete authority on these styles. For detailed information on these two styles please consult the actual style guides as seen in the Books box on the left.

The Basics

When preparing a manuscript for the journal of your choice, there are usually author instructions found on the journal's website. These instructions include very specific instructions e.g. the title page, how to format tables and the reference style to use. See example instructions for the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Consider using The ACS (American Chemical Society) Style Guide or Scientific Style and Format (11th edition) by the Council of Science Editors (CSE) to guide you through the process (see links to borrow this book from UC in the Books box below on the left). 

Several style guides advise you on the specific dictionary to use for spelling for example, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2005) is the standard dictionary for APA style. Make sure to check your style for the preferred dictionary (if any).


  • For instructions on how to login in to the UC catalog as a CCHMC or UC employee please use click here.
  • To find out how to order a book please click here.


Try one of these citation management software programs to not only collect your citations but then format them in thousands of styles! Citation management software allows you to:

  • Import and organize citations from many popular databases (e.g. PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar)
  • Build and organize bibliographies
  • Add searchable notes and other important information pertinent to the publication
  • Include attachments (e.g. PDFs, Excel sheets, images and graphs)

Alison Kissling

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Alison Kissling
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Cincinnati Children's
Edward L Pratt Research Library
3333 Burnet Ave ML3012
Cincinnati, OH 45229
Subjects: NIH Related Guides