Citing in AMA

I get a lot of questions about how to cite references in different styles. I’m not an expert at any of them so I understand the confusion and frustration of trying to adhere to any given style’s guidelines. DNP students have an additional challenge in that many of them are familiar with APA style and now have to transition to AMA style. Below are a few thoughts from my point of view.  **Keep in mind that if your instructors provide examples of citations, follow their examples as they are grading your assignments.**

  • The AMA style may not be as prescriptive for as many reference types as some other styles may be. So one has the opportunity to interpret the guidelines and there may not be a single correct way to cite a particular reference.
  • The AMA style is better suited to journal article preparation than for academic papers.
  • It might be helpful to browse articles in JAMA (since JAMA follows AMA style) to see how similar references are constructed.
  • One of the more difficult reference types to work with is online resources such as Micromedex, DynaMed, UpToDate, etc. Should you follow guidelines for online databases, websites, other? My take is to try and equate the online reference with something similar in print, if possible. Many online resources are referred to as ‘databases’ but are not considered true databases in today’s world. In the three cases just listed, I would tend to think of them like books, with chapters. Here are my attempts at examples (note that for this blog post I couldn’t format the correct indentation for where the lines start):

1.    Amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium. In: Micromedex Solutions. Greenwood Village, CO: Truven Health Analytics; 2017. Accessed February 1, 2017.

2.    Acetaminophen poisoning. In: DynaMed. EBSCO Information Services. Updated March 9, 2010. Accessed March 23, 2010.

3.    Marion DW. Pacing the diaphragm: Patient selection, evaluation, implantation, and complications. In: Post TW, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc; 2017. Updated November 11, 2016. Accessed Feb 2, 2017.

For convenience, I will include a couple of more straightforward examples:

4.    Woo TM, Robinson MV, eds. Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Co; 2015.

Note: for textbooks, consider if you are citing the entire book or just a chapter.

5.    Scott T. Drugs affecting the autonomic nervous system.  In: Woo TM, Robinson MV, eds. Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Co; 2015:173-224.


And likely these examples are not perfect…

[please refer to the HSL help guide for more examples and details]

Try out a resource for statistical datasets: Data-Planet

The UW Libraries is conducting a temporary trial to the Data-Planet database which allows the user to view and export statistics from a wide variety of disciplines such as economics, agriculture, security, and health.  Statistical summaries often point to their sources.

For more information, see the Database Trials post:

Please send feedback on how this resource would be useful to your work.  You may send feedback to your library liaison or  The trial runs through April 15, 2016 and is only accessible from on campus.

Finding Research Instruments

Beginning this year, the UW Libraries switched subscriptions to databases that help you find information about research instruments such as surveys and questionnaires.

We currently subscribe to PsycTests via the Ebsco platform, so it looks very much like the search interface for CINAHL Plus, PscyINFO, etc.


The Health Sciences Library maintains a help guide on how to find information regarding research instruments and provides suggestions for searching in specific databases: Measurement Tools / Research Instruments

Help with Writing

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) has expanded services with appointments available at the Health Sciences Library.

Writing Center - HSL

Why schedule a session?

  • Sessions are one-on-one appointment with a health science peer for 40 minutes.
  • All sessions are inclusively open to all UW students, faculty, and staff at any writing process stage (assignments, articles, proposals, personal statements, presentations, etc.)

Signing Up

  • Sign up ahead or drop in to the third floor of the Health Sciences Library
  • Sign up for an appointment for the Health Sciences Library satellite on the OWRC website.
  • Click on “Sign up” and choose “Health Sciences Library” from the drop down menu.
  • Profiles of peer tutors and their interests are available on the “Meet the Staff” website page.
  • If the Health Sciences satellite schedule is full, over 500 sessions per week are available at the main OWRC site in Odegaard 121.

Ordering Articles

Current UW students, staff, and faculty can order articles at no charge as long as you don’t request RUSH service.

Here is a short video showing how to do this from a PubMed search result screen (you have to use our PubMed link or search box for the UW icons to show up).

Order articles from PubMed search results

You can also manually enter your request in your InterLibrary Loan (ILL) account. Log in from this page.


You will receive an email when your pdf is ready.  View the pdf in your ILL account.

Finding Background or Foundational Articles or the Most Popular Article on a Topic: Using the ‘Cited By’ feature

Looking for articles for your background section?  Articles that lay the groundwork for your research?  Try rearranging/sorting your search results by the number of times the articles have been cited.

For instance, if you are looking for seminal article on the construct of self-efficacy, re-sort the 34,000 articles in Scopus, or the 29,000 in Web of Science by Cited By or Times Cited.  This will bring Bandura’s 1977 article in Psychological Review to the top in both databases.

Scopus results sorted by Cited By.

Scopus results sorted by Cited By.

You can also find citing articles in Web of Science and GoogleScholar.

Add Article Citations from the Library Catalog to EndNote Desktop

Many people using the UW Libraries Catalog find articles that they may want to save in their EndNote libraries.  The option to move to EndNote refers to EndNote Basic (i.e. EndNote Online).

To move the citation to EndNote Desktop, instead of selecting EndNote in the Share/Save options, select Export RIS (the last option on the Share/Save menu).  This will initiate the download process.  However, instead of saving the file, choose to open it with the ResearchSoft Direct Export Helper (something that comes with desktop EndNote).  This will then prompt you to choose which application to open with: EndNote or EndNote Web.  Select EndNote and the citation information will move directly into the currently open or last opened EndNote library.

Here is a little video demonstrating this.

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