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WHSL Citing the Medical Literature: Citing Print Journal Articles

How to cite print and electronic books and journals using Vancouver or Harvard styles for use in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand (GEMP 1 BMCS, MTP1, MTP2)

Comonents of a Print Journal Article Citation

All print journal article citations generally include:

  • Author/s name/s, in reverse order, ie. surname, then first name/s and initial/s of the journal article
  • Publication date of the journal 
  • Title of the journal article
    • Do not use capital letters, except for the first letter of the title
  • Title of the journal
    • Do not use "The" at the beginning of the journal title
    • Each word in the journal title is capitalised, eg. British Medical Journal   
    • The journal title is always written in italics
  • Journal volume (sometimes written in bold type)
  • Journal issue number (if known)
  • Pages, most often a range from first page to last page of the journal article

Punctuation is extremely important (see the example). Correct journal citations are a form of scholarly shorthand that all academics are able to use to communicate with each other.

Components of a Print Journal Article Citation

Print journal article citations are more complex than print book citations. Generally however, the place of publication and the publisher's name is omitted in a journal citation. Journal titles are normally abbreviated; book titles are never abbreviated. All print journal article citations usually include: 

  •  Author/s name/s, in reverse order, ie. surname, then first name/s and initials of the journal article   
  • Publication date of the journal
  •  Title of the journal article
    •  Only the first word of the article title is capitalized 
    • Include  "The" or "A/n" if it is the first word of the article title
  • Journal title
    • Do not include the first word of the journal title if it is “The” eg. The Lancet is written as Lancet
    • Each word in the journal title is in capital letters, eg. British Medical Journal even if the title is abbreviated eg. BMJ
    • The journal title is written in italics
  • Journal volume (usually only the number is shown, and it is not written out as vol. or volume)
  • Journal issue (if known), usually shown in brackets (usually only the number is shown, not written out as issue number)
  • Pages of the journal article

Punctuation is extremely important. The journal citation is a form of scholarly shorthand that allows academics to communicate internationally using a common language.