AMA Citation & Reference Style

Citation Tips:


Do I need to ask permission when citing an email or phone conversation?


You should obtain the permission of the author before citing either electronic (email, listserv), written or oral communication (see 3.15.9 in the AMA manual).

AMA Citation Style for Email/Personal Communication

When referencing communication from an e-mail or e-mail listserv message, AMA regards them as personal communications and should be listed in the text and NOT in the reference list

The in-text reference should be in parentheses and include the following:

  • Name and highest academic degree(s) of the person who sent the message
  • Affiliation
  • Date the message was sent

You should also clearly indicate whether the communication was oral or written and include online email. 

Type of Entry Reference List
In-text citation for email

Similar findings have been noted by G. P. Mackenzie, MD (email communication, January 2012).

The latest data on the ecological impact of the Gulf of Mexico’s marine mammals shows the effect oil spills have had on the immune systems of aquatic organisms (Gerald P. Mackenzie, MD, e-mail communication, January 2012). 

In-text citation for LISTSERV

The style committee for the AMA Manual of Style is currently preparing an update to address additional electronic reference citation formats (Annette Flanagin, CITINGMED LISTSERV, February 2, 2016)

In-text citation for oral communication

According to the drug manufacturer (C. E. Beaton, oral communication, December 2011), the drug became available in France in May 2010.

In a conversation with M. A. Rosenberg, MD (January 2012)....

According to a letter from J. P. Mackenzie, MD, in January 2012....


Thanks to the George Washington University Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library for the content of this guide, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License..

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