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AMA Format Quick Guide

Attention all Liberty University students and faculty: The university officially switched to AMA 11th edition for Spring 2021. All resources below are AMA-11 compliant. 


Papers With Non-Structured Abstract

Papers Using Structured Abstract

Helpful Resources

AMA-11 Reference List

Sample AMA-11 Annotated Bibliography

Kaltura video tutorial on endnote numbering “fix” in reference list

Note about the templates provided by Liberty University. Please read the hot-pink and green highlighted text in each template and follow those instructions before removing that content or those placeholders from your final paper. Also, be sure to use endnotes rather than footnotes. Otherwise, the templates will not function properly.



  • AMA-11 does not specify which font or size to use but Liberty University requires all course assignments to be completed using 12-point Times New Romans font for the body and all elements other than the title of the paper and headings. Heading levels and the title of the paper will be in Arial (14-point font for the title and primary headings, 12-point font for second-, third-, and fourth-level headings).
  • Include a digital object identifier (DOI) when available. If a DOI is not available but a URL is, use it instead. Do not add a period after the DOI or URL in your reference list.  The AMA Manual of Style recommends presenting DOIs as metadata (p. 97): doi:10.1001/jama.2017.13737
  • Use sentence-style capitalization in tables and figures except their titles.
  • Hyphens are not used for health care system.
  • Omit fellowship designations and honorary degrees; include undergraduate degrees only if they are the highest degree earned.
  • Titles and subtitles (section 2.1) = Should be concise, specific, and information and should contain key points of the work. Population type should be specified in the title, when possible (eg, Men with Atrial Fibrillation).  For scientific manuscripts (eg, reports or research), neither overly general titles nor “cute” titles are desirable.
  • Use lowercase letters for subtitles in the references except for proper nouns and the first word of a complete sentence, even after a title that ends in a question mark (p. 70, example #2 under section 3.10).
  • If quotation marks are required in the title or subtitle, they should be double, not single (section 2.1.1).
  • Abbreviations in titles (section 2.1.5) = Avoid the use of abbreviations in the title and subtitle, unless space considerations require an exception or unless the title or subtitle includes the name of an entity or a group that is best known by its acronym. In both cases, the abbreviation should be expanded in the abstract and at the first appearance in the text.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each major word in titles and subtitles. Do not capitalize subsequent articles (e.g., a, an, the), prepositions of 3 or fewer letters, coordinating conjunctions (and, or, for, nor, but, per), or the to in infinitives.  Do capitalize a 2-letter verb, such as Is or Be (section 2.1.6).
  • In order to best prepare its students for publication, Liberty University adopts and follows JAMA journals’ rule to include the shortened version of the article title in the running head.
  • Appendixes: For LUO assignments (not being published) the Appendix would come after the References.
  • Punctuation in AMA-11 is notably concise. For example, abbreviations including et al and eg do not have periods in the AMA manual. References are also consolidated with only punctuation as necessary to divide the elements.

Title Page

AMA-11 does not specify any requirements for this so the sample papers and templates provided for LUO students are unique to Liberty University coursework.


Papers that include original research, synthesized reviews, clinical reviews, or other forms of research presentations should be presented with a structured abstract. Otherwise, an unstructured abstract is an appropriate form of abstract to use. If a student is ever in doubt about the type of abstract needed for a specific assignment, he or she should consult the assignment’s instructions, grading rubric, and professor of the course for clarification on that assignment. Separate sample papers and templates are provided in links above for both formats.

General guidelines for abstracts in AMA-11 include:

  • Do not begin by repeating the title.
  • Do not cite references or URLs in the body of the abstract.
  • Do not cite figures or tables in the abstract.
  • Include the hypothesis or study question, if applicable.
  • Ensure that all concepts and data mentioned in the abstract are also included in the text.
  • Spell out abbreviations at first mention and avoid use of abbreviations unless they appear numerous times.
  • Verify the numbers provided in the abstract against those provided in the text, tables, and figures to ensure internal consistency.
  • You may include a short list (3-10) of keywords.

Students using structured abstracts should include the following headings as their section titles:

  • Importance
  • Objective
  • Design, Setting, Participants
  • Main Outcome and Measures
  • Results
  • Conclusion

Main Body

  • See the respective sample paper linked above for more details on what content to include based on your assignment.


  • AMA-11 papers use headings to separate paper sections and establish a hierarchy of information.  Short papers (usually five pages or less in the body of the paper) may not have any headings unless required, but longer papers benefit from the organizational aspects of headings.
  • Always begin with Level 1 headings and apply the appropriate heading and subheading levels from there.  If you use subheadings, you must have at least two under that larger heading. Do not simply progress from Level 1 to Level 2 to Level 3.
  • A paper may only have Level 1 headings if it is not divided into smaller subsections — or the content under some Level 1 headings may include two or more Level 2 headings (and some content under Level 2 headings may include two or more Level 3 headings).
  • All heading levels in AMA-11 are left-justified. There should be more space before a Level 1 heading than the other heading levels (see our sample AMA papers for a visual of this).

Level 1

Level 2
Level 3
Level 4


  • A citation is used whenever another author’s work is directly quoted or paraphrased.
  • Citations in AMA-11 are ordered consecutively in the order they appear in the body of the text.  They are presented as superscripted numbers inserted at the end of the sentence, with a corresponding numbered reference entry in the reference list at the end of the paper.
  • Every time you refer to a resource, you would use the same number for that resource, no matter how many times you cite that resource in your paper.
  • Use Arabic superscript numerals outside periods and commas, inside colons and semicolons.
  • Unfortunately, webpages do not reflect superscripted numbers well. Please see the sample papers for more discussion and visual examples of how to cite sources using AMA’s superscripted endnotes.


  • The Bible is considered a classical work according to AMA 11th ed and references to the Bible are included in text only, with the names of the book spelled out. The version of the Bible can also be provided in parenthesis. While the Bible text can be listed as a reference at the end, this is unnecessary.
  • Use a colon to separate the chapter and verse numbers of a biblical reference.

Numbers & Percentages (Chapter 18)

Use numerals to express numbers except:

  • Numbers that begin a sentence, title, subtitle, or heading
  • Common fractions
  • Accepted usage, such as idiomatic expressions and numbers used as pronouns
  • Other uses of one in running text (text that is not part of an equation or otherwise separated from the main body of text)
  • Ordinals first through ninth
  • Numbers spelled out in quotes or article titles


Numbers of 4 or more digits to either side of the decimal point:

  • In 4-digit numbers, the digits are set closed up: 2455
  • For numbers of 10 000 or greater, a thin space is used to separate every 3 digits starting from the right-most integer.
  • For numbers with 5 or more digits to the right of the decimal point, a thin space is used between every 3 digits starting from the right of the decimal: 8.453 98 g


Common fractions

  • Mixed fractions are typically expressed in numerals
  • Spell out fractions that are used as an adjective or noun in a hyphenated word: three-fourths; half-second; two-thirds.


Mixed fractions

  • The surgery lasted 3¼ hours
  • The patient was hospitalized for 5½ days


Measures of temperature

  • Use the degree symbol with Celsius and Fahrenheit measures of temperature but not for Kelvin.
  • A space should appear between the number and the degree symbol
  • Changes in temperature expressed as higher or lower (not warmer or colder)
  • The plates were cultured at 17 °C.
  • The patient was febrile (temperature, 38.8 °C).
  • The thermodynamic temperature equivalent to -25 °C is 298.15 K.


Miscellaneous rules involving numbers

  • Rounded large numbers, such as those starting with million, should be expressed with numerals and words: 5 million to 6 million people.
  • The word one should be spelled out when used as a pronoun or noun (as opposed to a number).
  • When 2 numbers appear consecutively in a sentence, either reword the sentence or spell out 1 of the numbers for clarity: Twenty 5-mL syringes.
  • Use a hyphen to connect a span of years: 2011-2015
  • Use roman numerals with proper names (Henry Ford III); note that no comma is used before the numeral.

Italics (Section 21.9.4)

  • Used for Level 4 heads (second-level sideheads)
  • When terms are described as terms and letters as letters:
    • The page number is called the folio.
    • In his handwriting, the n’s look like u’s.
  • For titles of books and journals, proceedings, symposia, plays, paintings, long poems, video games, musical compositions, movies, space vehicles, planes, and ships:
    • JAMA Psychiatry
    • USS Constitution
    • Verdi’s Requiem
    • Spirit of St. Louis (plane)
    • Microbe Invader (video game)
  • For legal cases, eg, Roe v Wade
  • For epigraphs set at the beginning of a work
  • For search terms (keywords)
  • For some non-English words and phrases that are not shown among English terms in the current edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary or in accepted medical dictionaries (eg, de Qi sensation)
  • For lowercase letters used in alphabetic enumerations of items or topics (the parentheses are set roman): (a), (b), (c), etc.
  • For genus and species names of some microorganisms, plants, and animals when used in the singular and the names of a variety or subspecies. Plurals, adjectival forms, and taxa above genus (eg, class, order, family) are not italicized:
    • Bacillaceae
    • Staphylococcus
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Staphylococci
    • Staphylococcal
    • Streptococcis
  • For gene symbols but not gene names
  • For chemical prefixes
  • For mathematical expressions
  • For some statistical terms: P value, R2, t test
  • For the abbreviation for acceleration due to gravity, g, to distinguish it from g for gram
  • For the term sic
  • In formal resolutions, for Resolved
  • Sparingly, for emphasis

Small Caps (Section 21.9.5)

  • AM and PM in time
  • BC, BCE, CE, and AD
  • Some prefixes in chemical formulas (L for levo-, D for dextro-)


For manuscripts submitted for publication, any appendix would be submitted as a separate file; not as part of the paper itself.  For Liberty University assignments, however (not being published), the Appendix should be placed after the References.  Tables and figures are attached in the section following the appendix, if any.

Tables or Figures

Any tables or figures would be attached to a student’s paper after any appendices.


  • Are numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals in the order in which they are cited in the text
  • In reference lists, use the author’s surname followed by initials without periods. In listed references, the names of all authors should be given unless there are more than 6, in which case the names of the first 3 are used followed by “et al.”
1 Author Doe JF.
2 Authors Doe JF, Roe JP III.
6 Authors Doe JF, Roe JP III, Coe RT Jr, Loe JT Sr, Poe EA, van Voe AE.
>6 Authors Doe JF, Roe JP III, Coe RT Jr, et al.
1 Author for or and a group Doe JF; Laser ROP Study Group.
>6 Authors for or and a group Doe JF, Roe JP III, Coe RT Jr, et al; Laser ROP Study Group
Group Laser ROP Study Group


  • Do not use the possessive form of et al (et al’s); rephrase the sentence. Instead of “Doe et al’s data support our findings,” restructure the sentence to “The data in the study by Doe et al support our findings.” [Note: Be sure to include endnote reference numbers anytime you refer to another’s work.  The web formatting on this webpage does not permit superscripted numbers so the endnote numbers were omitted here, where they would otherwise be required.]
  • Note spacing and punctuation in the examples in the table above. Do not use and between names in the reference list.
  • Roman numerals and abbreviations for Junior (Jr) and Senior (Sr) follow authors’ initials: Loe JT Sr.
  • If a first name is hyphenated, include both initials (ie, Ka-Wai Tam – Tam KW). If the second part of a hyphenated name is lowercased, both initials would be capitalized in the reference list (ie, Hyun-seok Kim = Kim HS).
  • Subtitle style follows that for titles, except that the subtitle of journal articles begins with a lowercase letter. (Capitalization is retained if the first word of the subtitle is a proper noun.)
  • If the title or subtitle ends with a closing quotation mark, the ending period should appear after the quotation mark because the ending punctuation is not part of the original content.
  • For journal articles, abbreviate and italicize names of journals in the reference list according to the listing in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) NLM Catalog database (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog/journals). Journal names for journals not cited in PubMed may be expanded to avoid possible confusion. Include the year, followed by a semicolon; the volume number and the issue number (in parentheses), followed by a colon; the initial page number, a hyphen, and the final page number, followed by a period, are set without spaces.  Do not omit digits from inclusive page numbers.  The DOI should be included if provided.  The DOI should be the final element and is not followed by a period (present it as metadata format).
  • If no DOI, a URL and accessed date may be used. If including a URL in a reference citation, use the URL that will take the reader directly to the article; do not include a long search string, and also avoid a short, more general URL (eg, one to the publisher’s homepage).  Always include http:// or https:// before the URL to help ensure proper linking.  The URL is not followed by a period.

Liberty University Class Lectures

In keeping with section, references to Liberty University class lectures will be cited as (please note that the content on the second line should be indented to fall under the content above it (not the number); limitations of Liberty’s website programming prevent it from appearing correctly below):

    1. COUC 815 – week 1: comparison of diagnostic criteria of PTSD and attachment disorders [PDF class handout]. Liberty University. Updated March 18, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020.  https://learn.liberty.edu
    2. Owen C. COUC 815: PTSD from early childhood trauma as a precursor to attachment issues [Class lecture]. Liberty University. Updated March 13, 2020. Accessed October 28, 2020.  https://learn.liberty.edu/

Student’s Prior Class Paper

In keeping with section, references to a student’s prior class paper will be cited as (please note that the content on the second line should be indented to fall under the content above it (not he number); limitations of Liberty’s website programming prevent it from appearing correctly below):

    1. Owen C. Effect of reduced Cluster-B personality traits in adopted children on their parents’ levels of family satisfaction. Liberty University, COUC 815; 2020. Accessed August 30, 2020.

Annotated Bibliographies

Note that in a stand-alone Annotated Bibliography assignment, students would include Liberty University’s standard AMA-11 title page.

Material on this page taken or adapted from the 11th Edition of the AMA Manual of Style.