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Citation Styles

This guide lists some major styles that are commonly used by various subject disciplines.

Introduction to the Vancouver style

Vancouver referencing style is popularly used in the medicine field. This style uses the numerical approach which correlates to the reference list that provide more information about the source. 

Vancouver has two components:

  • In-text citations
  • List of references found at the end of a document

This guide follows the rules set by Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors and Publishers. You may wish to consult this online book by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for more detailed examples.

General rules

Vancouver style allows for three alternatives:

  1. Square brackets [1]
  2. Parentheses (1) or,
  3. Superscripts1
  • If you cite the same source, the same number will be used within the text e.g., [2].
  • If you have decided on one format, make sure that it is applied consistently in your research paper.
  • In this guide, we have chosen to use square brackets for our sample citations. 

In-text citations and reference list examples

The table below illustrates few samples of in-text citations and reference list. 

For many other detailed examples, please refer to the Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors and Publishers.

Guidelines Examples

In-text citation

Recall and precision were expressed as percentages with 95% confidence intervals which were calculated using exact methods [11].

References list:

11. Fleiss JL: Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons Ltd; 1981

Journal articles

In-text citation

The Cochrane Collaboration maintains that handsearching is vital to the credibility and success of systematic reviews [7].

References list:

7. Dickersin K, Manheimer E, Wieland S, Robinson KA, Lefebvre C, McDonald S: Development of the Cochrane Collaboration's CENTRAL Register of controlled clinical trials. Eval Health Prof 2002, 25:38-64.

Conference Proceedings

In-text citation

.......reporting flaw(s) which could not be clarified by author(s) [19]

References list:

19. Kennedy G, Rutherford G: Identifying randomized controlled trials in the journal Aids. Proceedings of the 8th Annual Cochrane Colloqnium. October 2000; South Africa

In-text citation

Reviewers are encouraged to search numerous resources in order to identify as many relevant studies as possible without systematically introducing bias [4].

References list:

4. Locating and selecting studies for reviews In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2004. In Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook 4.2.2 [updated December 2003] Edited by: Alderson P, Green S, Higgins JPT. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2004.

Adapted from Crumley, E.T., Wiebe, N., Cramer, K. et al. Which resources should be used to identify RCT/CCTs for systematic reviews: a systematic review. BMC Med Res Methodol 5, 24 (2005).

This an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license. We wish to acknowledge the authors for using portions of the article to illustrate in-text citations and referencing samples in Vancouver style.

Additional resources