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Vancouver Style is used mostly by biomedical and other scientific journals. It involves the general format of a paper, in-text citations within the body of a paper, and reference list at the end. It is important to note that in most cases, every reference should have an in-text citation. Inversely, every in-text citation should correspond to a reference in the reference list.

Vancouver Style provides the following formatting rules for writing assignments:

  • Double-spaced throughout, including the reference list
  • 1″ margins on all sides
  • 12-point sized font
  • Times New Roman font
  • The title page:
    • Title of paper
      • No more than 12 words
      • No abbreviations
      • It can take up 2 lines
    • Your name
    • Name of school
    • Some professors may want you to include the course and/or date
  • The header:
    • First page only, left-hand side
      • Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
    • Rest of pages, left-hand side
    • Right-hand side of every page
      • Page number

In-text citations are found within sentences and paragraphs of assignments to make clear that the information quoted or paraphrased comes from a specific source on the reference page. IMPORTANT: Note that an in-text citation is necessary whether the information is directly quoted or paraphrased.

Vancouver uses numbers within parentheses as in-text citations. Here are rules to follow when creating in-text citations, followed by examples of what in-text citations look like in different scenarios:

  • References are numbered consecutively in the order they appear in the text
    • The initial number used for a reference is re-used each time it is cited
  • When multiple references are used in a single sentence, use a hyphen to indicate a series of inclusive numbers. Use commas to indicate non-inclusive numbers (see examples below)
  • Include the page number when directly quoting from a source
  • The in-text citation is placed after commas and periods, before colons and semi-colons

Referencing a Single Source

When the author is mentioned in the sentence

According to Considine (1) admitting you need help is the first step.

When the author is not mentioned in the sentence

Admitting you need help is the first step. (1)

Referencing Multiple Sources

Inclusive numbers

The results of the studies (4-7) were clear.

Non-inclusive numbers

As both studies (5,9) demonstrated.

A mixture of inclusive and non-inclusive numbers

Results of the studies (1-3, 13, 22) were unclear.

Direct Quotations

Quoting directly from a source

“… the evidence points to the opposite conclusion.” (6, p95)

Citing Indirect Sources

Sometimes you want to use a source cited in another source. For example, a scholarly journal article mentions the results of a study found in a different article. In other words, the source you have is citing a different source that you would like to use.

Providing an in-text citation for a source cited in a source on your reference page

In the example below, John Williams is a source used within your reference #12. It can be found on page 24. IMPORTANT: You will NOT have a reference for the John Williams article on your reference page. You will only have a reference for reference #12.

John Williams (2015) argued (cited by 12, p24) that…

Format the reference page using the following rules:

  • “References” is written at the top-center of the page. Do not include the quotation marks
  • Start at the top of the following page after the paper ends
  • Number references in the order they appear in the text

Below are examples of references for types of sources you will commonly use. When creating a reference, pay attention to all of the details. What needs to be abbreviated? How should things be capitalized? When and where do you need a period? All of this important to creating a properly formatted reference.

Journal Article, Magazine, and Newspaper Articles

References for journal articles differ depending on how they are accessed. They can be accessed in print form, on a website, or through an online database. The same goes for newspapers and magazines. Two other things to keep in mind:

  • Journal titles are abbreviated. If using a medical journal, the abbreviation can be determined by looking for the journal in PubMed
  • If the URL is long, use a link shortening website such as and create a shorter link to put in your reference.

Journal article in print

1. Cheuk B. Delivering business value through information literacy in the workplace. Libri. 2008; 58:137-143.

Journal article from a website

2. Washington ET. An overview of cyberbullying in higher education. Adul Learn [Internet]. 2015 Jan [cited 2015 Aug 15];25(1):[about 6pp.]. Available from

Journal article from an online database

3. Wallace MW, Hood AS, Woon ES, Hoffman K, Reed CP. Enigmantic chambered structures in Cryogenian reefs: the oldest sponge-grade organisms? Prec Res [Internet]. 2014 Dec [cited 2015 Feb 23];255(1):109-123. Available from ScienceDirect:

A newspaper article

4. Herszenhorn DM. Obama nears needed votes on Iran nuclear deal. New York Times [Internet]. 2015 Sept 1 [cited 2015 Sept 15]. Available from


When referencing books, be sure to know whether someone is an author or editor. The differentiation can be unclear when looking at the cover of a book. A Google search can help confirm information or find missing information.

One author or editor

1. Duncan T. Winning on and off the basketball court. San Antonio: Russell Sage Foundation; 2014.

2. Popovich G, editor. Sustained success at the professional level. Berkely: Penguin Limited; 2012.

2-6 authors/editors

3. James L., Irving K. The challenge of teamwork. Cleveland: Cavaliers Foundation; 2015.

More than 6 authors/editors

4. Vidal G, Williams T, Asimov I, Bradbury R, Clarke AC, Vonnegut K, et al. The kinds of things worth writing about. New York: McGraw Hill; 2008.

Organization as the author

5. Canadian Dental Hygienists Association. Dental hygiene: definition and scope. Ottawa: Canadian Dental Hygienists Association; 2004.

No author/editor

6. Matt’s American pharmacist directory 2010. 10th ed. Rochester: Matt’s directories; 2009.

Government document

7. United States. Evaluation of assessment strategies for K-12 math teachers. Washington: Department of Education; 2011.

Chapter in a book

8. Johnson RJ. Considerations when cleaning teeth. In: Romero G, editor. The practice of competent dentistry. London: Quintessence Publishing; 2006. p. 33-61.


9. Lewis AJ. Integrative assessment in clinical psychology [Internet]. Sydney: Australian Academic Press; 2010 [cited 2015 September 2]. Available from eBrary

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry

When creating references for encyclopedias or dictionaries in Vancouver style, the important factor is whether the source is signed or unsigned. This means whether the source has a credited author or not.

Unsigned dictionary/encyclopedia

1. Mosby’s dental dictionary. 2nd ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier; 2008. Frenotomy; p. 273.

Signed dictionary/encyclopedia

2. Murchison DF. Dental emergencies. In: Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy [Internet]. 18th ed. Whitehouse Station (NJ): Merck; 2009 [last modified 2009 Mar; cited 2009 Jun 23]. Available from:


Publication information is often unavailable on websites, and unlike books and journals, is not standardized. Vancouver style requires the place of publication, the publisher, and the original publication date. When these pieces of information are unknown use: [place unknown], [publisher unknown], [date unknown].

Website with an author

1. Smith T. Copy cataloging for the digital era [Internet]. [Place unknown]: [Publisher unknown]; 2010 [updated 2011 May 2; cited 2014 Jun 19]. Available from

Website with no author

2. How to camp safely with as little equipment as possible [Internet]. Chicago: American Camping Association; 2015 [cited 2012 Aug 9]. Available from