How to Write in AMA Style

AMA style refers to the American Medical Association style, which is primarily used by biology and medical majors when writing papers and completing assignments. This style is often required in medical and biological journals, books and articles. It is also sometimes used for writing on other types of science and health topics. AMA style is similar to Modern Language Association, or MLA style, but there are several specific differences.

Use initials. The primary component that sets the AMA style apart from other styles is that when names are referenced, the student or writer uses only the initials of the author’s first and middle names. The only name that is completely spelled out is the author’s last name. To do this correctly, list the last name followed by the initials. For example, if an author’s name is John David Smidt, write it as Smidt JD.

List sources at the end of the paper. Order the sources based on their use within the paper. Therefore, the first source documented within the paper should be the first listed on the source list.

Number the sources. Instead of using bulleted lists, number the list of sources. These numbers will serve as a way of citing the sources throughout the paper.

Cite the sources throughout the paper. This is done by including a superscript number that indicates the appropriate source. Place this number in the sentence that includes information from this source right after you state the author's name. If this source is mentioned again in the paper, add the page number from the source, in superscript and placed in parentheses.

Check to make sure the list of sources at the end of the paper is properly formatted. One key aspect of listing sources is placing a period in between each piece of information. For example, to site a book, list the following details in this order and place a period in between each item: Name. Title. Edition. Location. Publisher. Date.

  • There are numerous types of sources used for papers and assignments. When listing them, refer to the "AMA Manual of Style," also available in electronic form at the AMA Manual of Style website ( The manual offers instructions on the proper methods for all types of resources used.
Photo Credits
  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images