Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Vancouver referencing guide (Online): Referencing in the text

Mae’r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

Each reference is given an (Arabic) number as it first appears in the text. The number given becomes the unique identifier for that reference, and so if it is cited again later in the text, it will still have the same number. The first reference cited will always be number 1 and numbers are allocated sequentially.

Citing Medicine does not specify the placement of reference numbers with respect to punctuation. Departmental preferences vary.

Always be consistent, whichever method you use. Read your assignment instructions carefully and check with your lecturer/supervisor if in any doubt.

Citing one work

Using square brackets:

Recent research[1] indicates that the number of duplicate papers being published is increasing.

Using superscript:

Recent research1 indicates that the number of duplicate papers being published is increasing.

* The School of Medicine may also use parenthesis (1).

Citing the author's name in your text

You can use the author’s name in your text, but you must insert the citation number as well.

As emphasised by Watkins[2(p1)] carers of diabetes sufferers “require perseverance and an understanding of humanity”.

Citing more than one piece of work at the same time

If you want to cite several pieces of work in the same sentence, you will need to include the citation number for each piece of work. A hyphen should be used to link numbers which are inclusive, and a comma used where numbers are not consecutive.

The following is an example where works 6, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 15 have been cited in the same place in the text.


Several studies[6-9,13,15] have examined the effect of congestion charging in urban areas. 

Citing more than one author's name in your text

If a work has more than one author and you want to cite author names in your text, use ‘et al.’ after the first author.

Simons et al.[3(p4)] state that the principle of effective stress is “imperfectly known and understood by many practising engineers”.