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AMA guidelines are not primarily designed for research papers.

They are designed for the submission of journal articles online.

AMA Paper Format

In general, any paper written within the AMA guidelines must have the sections listed below, and in that order:

Medical practitioners and health scientists must lean the AMA guidelines for ease of communication with their colleagues

Medical practitioners and health scientists must lean the AMA guidelines for ease of communication with their colleagues

  • Title Page

  • Abstract
  • Main body
  • reference page

AMA Guidelines for the Title Page

AMA does not issue a specific title page formatting. However, AMA guidelines require that you include the following in your title page:

  • Name
  • Title of paper
  • Any degrees above the bachelor’s degree
  • Email address
  • Institutional Affiliation
  • Word count

Remember: There is no specific requirement in formatting.

However, due to the fact that different professors have different ideas about how a title page should look like, it is safe that you always inquire from them.


An abstract is a brief synopsis of your entire article. It is about 150 words.
AMA allows for two different types of abstracts:

  • Structured abstract
  • Unstructured abstract

Structured abstract

A structured abstract is mostly used for reports of original data, clinical reviews, and systematic reviews.

Moreover, the abstract has a pre-determined heading.

Unstructured abstract

It is the most common abstract form.

It mostly has keywords located below the page. The keywords represent key concepts in the article.

The keywords range between 3 and 10.

The Main Body

The main body is divided into four main categories:

  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion


  • For the headings and subheadings, AMA has no standard way of how they should look like. However, whatever format you choose, remain consistent with it.
  • When you have to use numbers in AMA, use numerals. In styles such as APA Formatting, we use a numbering system whereby, if it is less than 10, use words, but if it is more than 10, use the numerals. However, due to the fact that AMA deals with a lot of statistics, and research data from journal articles, only include all your numbers in numerals with the following exceptions:
            • Ordinals– an ordinal number is a number that tells the position of an item in a list. For example, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
            • Numbers used in idiomatic expressions such as, “one may think,” or “one may say”
            • All numbers that begin in a sentence
            • A fraction of a number. For example, one-fifth, rather than 1/5.

AMA Reference Page

The APA Reference Page is a little bit different and tricky. It is, therefore, important that students pay maximum attention to detail.

  • Each reference used must consequently be cited using a superscript Arabic numeral
  • The first reference that you use in your body automatically becomes number I. “I” implies that the cited reference is number one in the reference page.
  • Though rare, if you directly quote something, then you must add the page number after the superscript number in brackets(parentheses).


Andrew writes that “Effective manipulation of autophagy requires an understanding of the molecular events that govern this process. 7(756)


 Andrew CS. Autophagy as an antimicrobial strategy. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2009;7(6):743- 756. doi:10.1586/eri.09.41.

  • If you cite more than one reference in a sentence, separate the number with a comma

AMA Guidelines for the Reference Page

  • For 1-6 authors, write their first names followed by their last two initials
  • In addition, Do not include periods or commas between the first name and the last name.
  • Equally important, commas will be used to separate the names of the authors
  • For articles with more than six authors, use et al. after the 3rd author
  • If the article has no author, begin the reference with the title of the work
  • For the journal article capitalize the 1st letter of the 1st word, proper nouns, and abbreviations
  • Additionally, Books, Journals, bulletins, and pamphlets are italicized
  • In the same fashion, when citing a book an realize that there are multiple cities listed as places of publication, use the 1st city only.


Book—Single Author


  1. Book Title. Edition number (2nd edition or above). City, State (or Country) of publisher: Publisher’s name; copyright year.


 Edward RS. Clinical Anatomy by Continents. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012.

Book—Multiple Authors

 Format: First Author, Second Author [if there are more than six authors, use “et al.” after the third author]. Book Title. Edition number [2nd edition or above]. City, State (or Country) of publisher: Publisher’s name; copyright year.


Timothy E, Stern DF. Effective Documentation for Physical Therapy Patients. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011.

Special Rules in Citing a Journal

It is the most common!

  • Abbreviate the journal title
  • Also, If the journal has a Digital Object Identifier, DOI, use it and ignore the URL. A doi is a unique set of numbers used in the identification of journal articles.
  • If you have the doi, do not include the URL of the journal article.
  • In addition, When citing a website, include a complete URL (for the ease of access to the article). Do not share the homepage URL, but the complete URL.
  • Do not forget to include the date that you accessed the article.