• 3-minute read
  • 4th June 2020

How to Cite Multiple Sources in AMA Referencing

Have you been asked to use AMA referencing in a document? Do you need to cite more than one source at once? The American Medical Association’s referencing system has special rules when it comes to citing multiple sources, which we will explain in this post.

In-Text Citations in AMA Referencing

When you use AMA referencing, you give numbered superscript citations in the text and a numbered reference list at the end of your document.

Sources are numbered in the order they are first cited, so the first source you cite will be given the number ‘1’, the second ‘2’, and so on:

Sleep disorders affect around 40% of adults worldwide.1 The most common of these disorders is insomnia, which is a well known but widely misunderstood issue.2

In the reference list, you give full details for each source. And if you cite a source more than once, you use the same number each time.

But what if you need to cite multiple sources in the same place?

Citing Consecutive Sources in AMA Referencing

To cite consecutive sources from the reference list (i.e. sources that are listed one after the other without interruption), AMA referencing requires that you use a hyphen between the first and last numbers. For example, if we want to cite sources 2, 3, 4 and 5, our in-text citation will look like this:

The knock-on effects of sleep apnoea are severe.2-5

The reader will then know we’re citing all these sources.

Citing Non-Consecutive Sources in AMA Referencing

To cite non-consecutive sources – sources that are not grouped together in the reference list – you place an unspaced comma between each source number. For example, we would cite sources 3, 8 and 12 like this:

Treatment for sleep disorders often includes exercise.3,8,12

If you are citing a mixture of consecutive and non-consecutive sources, moreover, you should use a mix of hyphens and commas as appropriate:

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Studies demonstrate the effectiveness of music as a sleep aid.1,3-5

Here, we have cited sources 1, 3, 4 and 5.

Citing Non-Consecutive Pages in a Source

When you quote directly from a source in AMA referencing, you add page numbers in brackets to the superscript citation. If you are citing more than one source but only quoting from one, moreover, make sure to put the page numbers in brackets immediately after the source you are quoting:

Poor sleep results from ‘unhealthy lifestyle choices’. 2,4(p17),9

You can also provide page numbers without quoting to direct the reader to part of a source. To cite a range of consecutive pages in a book, you simply use a hyphen between the first and last pages cited:

Douglas conducted several experiments.10(pp23-26)

However, if you need to cite different parts of a single source, you should use commas between the page numbers:

Smith expresses doubt on several counts.15(pp4,18,21)

In this case, we’re citing pages 4, 18 and 21 from source 15 in the reference list. And as with non-consecutive citations, the commas here are unspaced.

Hopefully, this post has helped to clarify how to cite multiple sources in AMA referencing. But if you’d like help to check you have referenced correctly, our expert AMA editors are available 24/7!

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