This helpful guide focuses on the main rules and specifics of writing a research paper based on the AMA style citation format. AMA stands for the American Medical Association and is mostly used among Healthcare, Nursing, Biology, and Pharmacology students. When the talk goes about the medical research field and health-based sciences, it’s standard to use. Likewise, when citing a medical journal or working with a case study, learning to write a research paper in AMA format is essential! We shall also provide practical AMA citation examples to make things easier when you see how to use things in practice. This guide will also help you see how to format the page layout correctly and how to avoid plagiarism as you place relevant medical citations in your research paper.
Basic rules of AMA style format
- Your content must be double-spaced within the text of your assignment.
- Using single-spaced text within the abstract section of your research paper, notes, titles, and headings is necessary.
- Use single-spacing for the block quotes, tables, figures, and references page.
- Page number always starts at the title page of your research paper and must be placed in the upper right corner.
- One-inch margins with the 0.5 inches paragraph indents must be provided for each new paragraph that you have.
- It is recommended to keep your main content aligned to the left.
- Avoid formatting your text in columns. While the latest manual has been allowed in the previous AMA format editions, it speaks against it.
It is also required that all AMA references must be cited numerically with the use of consecutive order. It is recommended to use superscript Arabic numerals when using citations. Remember to use numerals outside periods and commas as you cite.
Note: The rules and examples in this AMA guide use the latest 11th edition, available since Spring 2021. Before you start to write AMA research paper, consult your academic advisor and/or your grading rubric to ensure that you follow the required style in formatting and AMA citations.
The basic structure of the AMA research paper
Turning to the AMA style manual, one cannot find specific tips or recommendations regarding how to structure a medical research paper. What it includes, however, is the presence of specific research paper sections that must be included. It means that when the AMA format is used, most colleges and universities in the United States and other English-speaking countries require:
- A title paper with complete information about the course, department, and academic advisors.
- An abstract is formatted according to the rules, depending on whether an author uses a structured or a non-structured abstract.
- An ethical guidelines paragraph that showcases the manuscript preparation and a list of relevant permissions.
- The use of tables and figures.
- Presence of supplementary materials and medical manuals.
Without a doubt, all of it will depend on the format of your research paper and the general requirements provided by the college professor. Other than that, most medical and healthcare papers formatted in AMA style follow the basic structure of an introduction with a thesis statement, three to five body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
As a rule, you may include methodology, samples, annotated bibliography, and other vital elements of research work per necessity. Since most of these rules are specific to the paper type and university, this AMA style guide won’t get too deep into this aspect of research writing and will focus on formatting instead.
How to format an AMA research paper: margins, font, and spacing
Speaking of the formatting of the page layout, the AMA style research paper differs from similar citation styles used by college students in other disciplines. Here is the general set of rules that you must remember and use when working on the page layout:
- AMA 11th style manual does not provide specific information regarding fonts that are allowed, yet it would be safe to use Times New Roman, point 12 or Arial, point 11.
- The page layout must have 1-inch margins for each side of the page.
- Use 0.5 inches indents for each new paragraph.
- All the text content except for the research paper itself must be single-spaced.
- Heading levels of the AMA-style paper can be done in Arial by highlighting them as necessary.
- AMA manual recommends using DOI data or direct URL links instead. To make things work as you format your page layout, do not place a period at the end of the link!
- Sentence-style capitalization must be used for the tables and figures. This rule does not apply to the titles of the tables.
- Using hyphens for a sequence of words like health care system is unnecessary.
- It is recommended to avoid fellowship designation and honorary degrees.
- Using titles and subtitles in AMA style format must always be to the point and reflect the main keywords and/or arguments.
- Lowercase letters must be used for subtitles in the References. This rule does not apply to proper nouns and the first word when you have a complete sentence.
- Quotation marks used must always be double.
- Avoid the use of abbreviations in AMA-style research paper titles.
- The first letter of each major word in titles and subtitles must be capitalized.
Note: Abbreviations like “et al” and “eg” do not use periods, as stated in the AMA manual. Make sure you take a closer look at the AMA citation examples we provide in this guide’s final section.
How to create a title page and abstract according to AMA style?
Speaking of the title page formatting and style, the AMA manual of style does not provide any specific information or strict requirements. It means you must use templates or guidelines offered by your college or university. If you have not been provided with it, remember that:
- A title page in AMA should include the title of your research paper, followed by the name of the author and the institution name.
- The title page elements must be placed in the upper half of the page and centered.
- Do not make this content bold, and do not use any odd fonts or italics for your title.
The title page can be both double-spaced and single-spaced. It will depend on your university.
As you have noticed, we have mentioned the paper with non-structured abstract and those research works that use a structured abstract. A structured abstract format is necessary to present original research or compose a systematic or clinical review. Using a structured abstract is necessary if you are dealing with practical or lab research work. A non-structured abstract must be used when you do not present original work and participate in debates or other types of work. If you are in doubt regarding what type of abstract is appropriate, always consult your academic advisor and/or the grading rubric.
The general AMA guidelines related to abstract writing:
- Do not start an abstract by citing your title.
- No references or citations must be used in the AMA-style abstract.
- No citations of figures and tables are allowed.
- Include your study question and hypothesis (if necessary).
- Do not mention any data that is not included in your text.
- Provide complete spelling of abbreviations when using them for the first time.
- A list of keywords may range from 3 to 10 words.
Working with a structured abstract, it’s necessary to include the following headings in your research paper:
- Importance of Research
- Research Objectives
- Design, Setting, and Participants
- Main Research Outcomes and Measures
- Research Results
- Conclusion and Recommendations
Following these elements in your research will help you narrow things down and understand what to include in each relevant section.
How to format a research paper’s body in AMA style?
The only rule made clear by the AMA style guide is double-spacing for the content of the paper’s body and ½ indents when starting with a new paragraph. Before we continue with the use of headings, the following elements must be included in your AMA research paper:
- An Introduction. You must introduce your main subject in this section and present the main objectives and arguments you wish to deliver. As a rule, using one citation is recommended, especially if you use statistical data or need a citation to support a scientific fact or an assumption.
- Methods. It is where you discuss the methods used to perform your research. It can be a qualitative or quantitative method or a mixture of both.
- Samples. You can also provide a separate section by specifying elements like gender, age, population group, and socio-cultural peculiarities.
- Discussion. This section of an AMA style paper is where you must discuss your research work and provide analytical information. It is also where you have to outline your research outcomes and discuss limitations or specifics necessary to replicate your actions.
- Conclusion. Do not introduce any new ideas in this section, and avoid using citations, as you only have to sum up the main thesis once again. Keep things concise and clear!
The use of headings in AMA:
- AMA style format uses relevant headings to separate research paper sections and specify a hierarchy. It also simplifies information for readers and university professors.
- If your paper is a lengthy one, the use of headings is obligatory!
- All AMA papers must start with Level 1 headings. The general rule is to use at least two other headings if you start with the main heading.
- If you do not plan to divide your writing into smaller subsections, you can use Level 1 headings only.
- All headings in AMA format must be justified to the left.
Here is how AMA sections for subheadings look in practice:
Creating AMA References page and using citations
Working with citations might seem overly complex, but do not let it frighten you! Before we continue with the actual practical examples, have a look at the general References page and citations rules:
- You must use a citation each time when you provide a direct quote or paraphrase an author.
- Citations in AMA 11th style format must be provided in a consecutive order exactly how they appear in your research paper.
- Your citations must be presented with the help of superscript numbers that you place at the end of a sentence. It is exactly how you create and use corresponding numbers on your References page.
- No matter how often you turn to a particular resource, you must use the same number even if it’s cited in your paper more than once.
- Remember to use Arabic superscript numerals outside periods and commas yet inside colons and semicolons.
The word “References” must be placed on the new page and centered. Do not use bold fonts. In most medical papers encountered these days, the References page in AMA research paper format is either double or single-spaced with a 50/50 ratio.
How to cite from different sources in AMA style with examples?
After all, nothing beats seeing a practical example and an MLA-style citation template when you are a confused student trying to make sense of things. Remember that author’s name(s) in AMA formatting go without periods between the last name and the initials.
Citing a website in MLA:
Author or organization’s name. Title of your research paper. Website’s name. URL, Published date, Date of Access.
Jones K. Management of antibiotics among infants in Congo’s rural hospitals. Rural Nursing Ethics Online Archive. http://www.yourwebsite.edu Published May 28, 2019. Accessed June 1, 2023.
In-text citation AMA format template (the same style and rules apply to all citation types):
Jones¹ stated in cultural research that most infants in Congo…
Citing Medical Journals in AMA:
When working on journal articles, you must abbreviate and use italics for the names of journals that you mention in your references by starting with a lowercase letter. If you are unsure what abbreviations to use, consider listings available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and their database. If you are citing something available in PubMed, you may provide a complete journal name to clarify things. As the AMA writing format example below shows, you must include a year with a semicolon, the volume number, and the issue (in parentheses). Add a colon with the initial page number(s) separated by a hyphen. If there is a DOI, provide it as well. There should be no period after the DOI!
Author’s Last Name Initial(s). Article title. Journal Name abbreviated. Year; Volume (issue): starting page-final page.
Carey BC, Nordstrom, LR, Windsor N. et al. Impact of linguistic challenges in Scandinavian countries and work with the ADHD patients. Am. J. Physiol. 2021; 7(11): 134-139. https://doi.org/10.1182/xxx
Citing a book in print in AMA:
When you have information that is available in a printed source, follow this AMA-style book citation template:
Author’s Last Name Initial(s). Title of research paper: Subtitle. City of Publication, State: Publisher.
Hayes W. Offering Help to Autistic Children: What Medical Scholars Must Know. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 2004.
This is the basic information you must know to create an excellent paper in AMA-style format. Remember to use the AMA style templates, check the rules as you work on your medical research paper, and consult your grading rubric. It will help you to avoid plagiarism and provide an excellent research assignment that earns the best grade!