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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 scientific research within the medical 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.

Additionally, it important to take note on the use of Vancouver style as this depends on the nature of the research study done within medicine or the medical context. For example, research topics covering medical education may not necessarily use the Vancouver style. It is highly recommended to check with the journal requirements when using this citation style. 

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 superscripts 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

There are a number of health psychology models that have been proposed to explain behaviour that have motivation at their core, such as the Health Belief Model which considers 'likelihood of taking action'; the theory of reasoned action23

References list:

23. Fishbein M, Ajzen I. Predicting and changing behavior: the reasoned action approach. New York: Taylor & Francis; 2010. 

Journal articles with DOI provided

In-text citation

For example, people who are depressed may find that they have little motivation to perform self-management
tasks such as testing their blood glucose levels, or eating healthy food; they may also rate their QoL as

References list:

30. Moussavi S, Chatterji S, Verdes E, Tandon A, Patel V, Ustun B. Depression, chronic diseases,
and decrements in health: results from the World Health Surveys. Lancet. 2007 Sep;370(9590):851–8.

Websites with an organization(s) as author

In-text citation

Although there is still a lack of any consensus definition of psychological interventions that can be applied to increase motivation for diabetes self-management, they can be categorised by their theoretical framework44

References list:

44. Royal College of Psychiatrists. Psychotherapies and psychological treatments [Internet]. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists; c2022 [updated 2020 Nov; cited 2022 Jun 21]. Available from:

Thesis dissertations

In-text citation

The number of hours spent on course administration was reported in only one study336.......

References list:

336. Walker C. Effects of motivational interviewing on diabetes self-management behavoiurs and
glycemic control in type 2 diabetes: a translational study [dissertation]. [Cincinnati (OH): University
of Cincinnati; 2012.

Adapted from Winkley K, Upsher R, Stahl D, Pollard D, Kasera A, Brennan A, et al. Psychological interventions to improve self-management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. Health Technol Assess 2020;24(28).

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license. Permission to reproduce material from a published report is covered by the UK government’s non-commercial license for public sector information

We wish to acknowledge the authors for using portions of the article to illustrate in-text citations and referencing samples in Vancouver style.

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