Skip to Main Content

WHSL PCMS and Beyond Survival Guide: Citing the Medical Literature

A brief overview of using information resources from WHSL and other useful information, designed for students entering GEMP I

Which Style Should I Use to Cite my References?

As a student in the Faculty of Health Sciences, you are bound by the rules in use for the School which offers your degree. The School of Clinical Medicine (MBBCh) uses Vancouver style. 

Why Do I Need to Use Citations in All my Written Work?

Ethical honesty is taken very seriously by the Faculty of Health Sciences. If you do not acknowledge the source of your information, you might be accused of plagiarism. This can lead to student disciplinary action, such as suspension, or expulsion.

What is Meant by a Citation Style?

A citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source. A citation style is a standarized description of an item, such as a book or journal, that conforms to a particular format. Usually the formats are created by professional organizations, such as the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) or publishers, such as the University of Chicago.

  • The Vancouver Style
    • The Vancouver citation style takes its name from a meeting in Vancouver, Canada in 1978, which led to the establishment of the ICMJE
    • This style was developed further by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in the USA
    • This style is sometimes also known as the Uniform style or Uniform requirements, because several medical journal editors adopted this format for their journals
    • References in this style are numbered consecutively in the text, and are identified by Arabic numerals either in brackets (1) or in superscript (with or without brackets), eg. superscript ¹ 
    • The list of references at the end of the text, where the full work is cited, is in numerical order


Using Vancouver Style to Cite

If you need help citing your references according to the Vancouver Style, please refer to the WHSL Citing the Medical Literature LibGuide. Note that there is also an advanced Vancouver Citation Guide available. 

Submitted Written Work

Every piece of written work you submit must contain properly cited references, and the list of sources you have consulted must be correctly listed in either style.

This includes portfolios and clinical assessments, as well as Power Point presentations.


Using References from MS Office Word

Note that NONE of the styles used in MS Office Word conform to the Vancouver Style. You can not therefore use this feature when listing medical citations.