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Writing a Research Paper in AMA Style


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Title: Writing a Research Paper in AMA Style

Writing a Research Paper in AMA Style
These are the basics of using AMA documentation
  • Suggestion Follow the PowerPoint to form a
    general idea about how to use AMA.
  • Take notes sparingly.
  • Obtain a handbook or handout that covers AMA and
    keep it next to you as you do your research and

Different ways of saying the same thing
  • Giving credit to your sources.
  • Documenting your sources.
  • Citing your sources.
  • Using in-text citations.

When you write a research paper in a health care
field, you might use sources like these
  • Primary sources Research that you conducted
    yourself, such as patient interviews or case
  • Secondary sources Professional books or journals
    on health care topics, studies others have
    conducted that focus on health care topics, notes
    or handouts from classes or conferences you
    attended, Web publications, etc.

When you borrow from an outside source, there are
three basic ways to use the material
  • Quote directly
  • Summarize
  • Paraphrase
  • Writers frequently use all three of these
    strategies in the same paper.

To quote from a source CHECK
  • Use the exact words of the source. Dont change a
  • Enclose short quotes (up to 40 words) in
    quotation marks. The page number goes outside of
    the quotation marks and before the end
  • For longer quotes, dont use quotation marks.
    Indent the whole quotation five spaces.

If you MUST make a change in the quote, use
brackets around the item you changed. If you
leave something out of a quote, indicate this
with ellipses
When you paraphrase
  • Put the information into your own words.
  • Keep all of the points the author made.
  • Keep the points in the same order as they appear
    in the source.
  • Do not shorten/condense anything.
  • Do not use quotation marks.

When you summarize
  • Put the information into your own words.
  • Shorten/condense the material.
  • Do not use quotation marks.

Rule of thumb for deciding what to document when
you write a research paper
  • Borrowed language (direct quotations)
  • Borrowed ideas, explanations, theories, etc.
  • Borrowed statistics, information, definitions,
  • All need to be documented.

Where do you put the information about your
sources in an AMA research paper? Two places
  • In in-text citationsthat is, right in the body
    of your paper
  • AND
  • On the References page at the end of your paper.

Each documentation systemAMA, APA, MLA, CMS, and
CSEhas its own very specific rules. You dont
have to memorize themyou can use a style book or
a handoutbut make sure you follow them carefully.
American Medical Association (AMA)
  • Frequently used in medical writing.

In the following examples of AMA in-text
citations, the actual source information is in
yellow. Notice that where you insert this
information can signal the beginning and end of
the material you borrowed.
It is important to show the reader, as clearly as
you can, where the material you borrowed from
your source starts and stops.
In most cases, AMA uses superscript numbers for
in-text citations, starting with 1. Example
The estimation is based on the assumption that 55
and 107 g water is produced for every 100 g
carbohydrate and fat oxidized, respectively17.
When using the same source again, use the same
superscript number, but add the specific page
youre referring to
  • Altman3 reported that the aversion to organ
    donation decreased in pietistic denominations,
    which supported Gilman1(p33) and LaFollettes4
    earlier findings.

How to superscript on a PC
  • Highlight citation number, then hit control,
    shift and .

Heres a frequently asked question about using
in-text citations
  • Do I need to keep inserting a superscript number
    for my source over and over again?

  • Insert the information as often as you think the
    reader needs it.
  • Keep asking yourself, Am I positive that the
    reader knows where I found the information in
    this sentence or paragraph and whose
    words/ideas/language Im using here?
  • If youre not positive, throw in another in-text
    citation. Its better to use too many than too

Your in-text citations tell the reader to look at
your references under the name of your source in
order to find publishing information.
In fact, savvy readers who are researching a
topic always check the References pages of their
sources to find additional sources that will help
them with their own writing and research projects.
  • You might want to try this yourself!

Your References (page)
  • It comes at the end of your paper, starting on a
    separate page.
  • It is a list of all of the sources you used in
    your paper.

References page, continued
  • The title of this page is References. Do not call
    it References Page. Do not put quotation marks
    around it. Do not underline References or
    italicize it.
  • Center the words References at the top of the
  • Alphabetize the citations according to authors
    last names.

You will write a full citation for each source
(book, journal, website, etc.), giving as much
information to your reader as possible about the
source.AMA has a specific order for the pieces
of information in each citation. We will look at
this order later.
Reference page, contd.
  • Keep an AMA guide on hand. Pay close attention
  • What type of information goes on the References
  • What the order of this information is for an AMA
    citation (as opposed to other styles).
  • How punctuation is used in AMA. (Yes, it does
  • Tip Be sure to copy your source information
    right awaywhen you are actually using the
    sourceso youll have it when you develop the
    References page.

Here is the basic format for a book with one
  • Davis NM. Medical Abbreviations 15,000
    Conveniences at the Expense of Communications and
    Safety. 10th ed. Huntingdon Valley, PA Neil M.
    Davis Associates 2001173.
  • Last name, first initials Title of Work.
    Edition. Place of publication Publisher year
    page number.

The format for a book citation shows you the
skeleton of all AMA citations
Chapter in book
  • Wallace RJ Jr., Griffith DE. Antimycobacterial
    agents. In Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Longo DL,
    Braunwald E, Hauser SL, Jameson JL, eds.
    Harrisons Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th
    ed. New York, NY McGraw-Hill 2005946.

Books compiled by group, agency, or committee (no
author or editor)
  • United States Pharmacopeia Drug Information
    Drug Information for the Health Care Professional
    . Vol 1, 23rd ed. Greenwood Village, CO Thomson
    Micromedex 20032514-2517.

Serial books that are updated
  • Tatro DS, ed. Drug Interaction Facts. St. Louis,
    MO Facts and Comparisons1104.

Journal articles
  • Smith J, Canton EM Weight-based administration
    of dalteparin in obese patients. Am J Health-Syst
    Pharm. 2003 60683-687.

Source from a Web Site
  • National Institutes of Health. NIH guidelines on
    the inclusion of women and minorities as subjects
    in clinical research. Available at
    t94-100.html. Accessed on July 19, 2000.

Source from a Database
  • Kemp, JP, Kemp JA. Management of Asthma in
    Children. Am Fam Physician online.
    2001631341-8, 1353-4. Available from Ebsco
    Medline Comprehensive Fulltext. Accessed June 4,

Electronic sources vary
  • Even your instructors probably have to look up
    AMA format for some of these online sources. Your
    best bet is to look them up in the AMA Manual of
    Style, 10th ed. or http//healthlinks.washington.e

What is an abstract?
  • Its a 75- to 100-word summary of your paper. It
    provides readers with an overview
  • Thesis/main idea
  • Key points
  • Research applications or
  • implications of your findings

Abstracts are optional, but your instructor may
require one.
  • The abstract is on a separate page immediately
    after the title page.
  • Center the word Abstract one inch from the top
    of the page.

Where to find helpful information.
  • 1. Using the best sources/using sources
    correctly Take the Information Literacy pre-test
    on MUs website.
  • 2. American Medical Association. (2007). AMA
    Style Guide. http//healthlinks.washington.edu/hsl
    /styleguides/ama.html. Accessed September 8,
  • 3. Help with any part of the writing process
    Visit the Writing Center (room 2410).
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