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Citation and Writing Styles

FORMATTING YOUR PAPER (This is a Level One section heading.)

AMA citation style is intended to prepare a scholarly article for publication in a medical research journal, such as JAMA or New England Journal of MedicineAMA does not address formatting a college research paper. There are no standards on formatting like we'd expect to find. For example, line spacing, page numbers, etc.

Many NWACC instructors provide assignments that spell out the formatting requirements. When the assignment does not provide specific formatting instructions, use these recommended guidelines.

Formatting Guidelines (This is a Level Two section heading.)

  1. Font: Times New Roman 12 pt.
  2. Line Spacing: Single
  3. Margins: 1 inch
  4. Page Numbers: Arabic numerals in the upper right corner (1, 2, 3, etc.)
  5. Student's Name and Information: Upper left of first page, flush against the margin.. Include:
    1. Your Name
    2. Instructor Name
    3. Course Name
    4. Date Due
  6. Title of Paper: Centered on the page in bold type.
  7. Section Headings: See samples above.
    1. LEVEL ONE: All caps, bold, flush on the left margin. Begin content on the line below.
    2. Level Two: Title case, bold, flush on left margin. Begin content on the line below. What is "title case?" Title Case is when the first letter of each main word is capitalized. Example of Title Case.
  8. REFERENCES: Use a Level One section heading.
    1. Section heading: REFERENCES or REFERENCE LIST are both acceptable.
    2. Numbered list (1, 2, 3, etc.)
    3. Sources are listed in the order used in the paper.
    4. Single space entries.
    5. Double space between entries.


Because the current version of AMA Citation Style has some ambiguities, NWACC classes use the formatting shown below. Use of citation generators may not produce the same results and result in scoring or grade deductions. For NWACC assignments, use the following format. More information can be found in the Quick Guide pdf document above.

Entry in an Encyclopedia / Reference Work or a Book Chapter

If it is an ebook or online source, just add the URL & an access date. If it's a print book, just leave those off.

Author (if any). Entry or chapter title. In: Editor’s name, ed. Title of encyclopedia. Vol. # (if any). Edition (if 2nd or higher). City, State (or Country) of publication: Publisher’s name; copyright year:page range (if any). URL. Accessed [date].
Cholera. In: Baker CJ. Red Book Atlas of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 3rd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2017:712-715. Accessed March 13, 2019.

Article or Entry from a Website

[If author & name of website are the same, use it as the author and skip listing website.]

Author (if given). Title (or name of organization). Name of the website. URL. Published [date]. Updated [date]. Accessed [date]. 
DrugBank. Cyproheptadine. Published June 13, 2005. Updated April 11, 2019. Accessed April 12, 2019.

Journal Article found online or in a Library Database

(if print, omit DOI & access date)

Author(s). Article title: Subtitle if any. Journal name (using NLM abbreviations*). Year; volume(issue):page range (if any). DOI or URL. Accessed [date].
Khalakdina A, Costa A, Briand S. Smallpox in the post-eradication era. Wkly Epidemiol Rec. 2016;91(20):257-264. https://proxy01.nwacc.‌‌edu/‌‌‌login?‌url=‌https://‌‌login.aspx?‌direct=‌true&db=ccm&‌AN=‌115590247&site=ehost-live. Accessed October 16, 2018.

Image from a Book1 or a Website2

  1. 10391: Zolpidem. In: O'Neil MJ, Hekcelman PE, Dobbelaar PH, Roman KJ, eds. The Merck  Index. 15th ed. Cambridge, United Kingdom: The Royal Society of Chemistry; 2013.
  2. Zolpidem Tartrate 2D Structure. In: National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Open Chemistry Database, CID=57487. Accessed June 4, 2018.

Book1 or eBook

(citing the entire book)

1. Author. Title: Subtitle if any. Edition # (if 2nd or higher). City, State (or Country) of publication: Publisher’s name; copyright year.
1. Kotar SL, Gessler JE. Smallpox: A History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 2013.
2. Author. Title: Subtitle if any. Edition # (if 2nd or higher). City, State (or Country) of publication: Publisher’s name; copyright year. URL. Accessed [date].
2. Persen E, Chen LH, Schlagenhauf-Lawlor P.  Infectious Diseases: A Geographic Guide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2017. Accessed October 16, 2018.


Try these videos for more AMA citation help.

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Citation Video Tutorials

Watch this brief video tutorial to learn more about citations, including what they are, why you should use them, and when you should use them.

Video by North Carolina State University Libraries and used under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license.

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