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Vancouver Referencing: Home

What is Referencing?

Referencing is a method used to demonstrate to your readers that you have conducted a thorough and appropriate literature search, and carried out appropriate reading.

A reference is required if you:

  • Quote (use someone else’s exact words);
  • Copy (use figures, tables or structure);
  • Paraphrase (convert someone else’s ideas into your own words);
  • Summarize (use a brief account of someone else’s ideas).

Reference list: General notes

Please check with your faculty for any specific referencing or formatting requirements

  • The reference list appears at the end of the paper.
  • References are listed in numerical order, and in the same order in which they are cited in text.
  • Begin your reference list on a new page and title it 'References.'
  • The reference list should include all and only those references you have cited in the text.
  • Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
  • Abbreviate journal titles in the style used in the NLM Catalog
  • Check the reference details against the actual source - you are indicating that you have read a source when you cite it.
  • Be consistent with your referencing style across the document.

Why do I reference?

References enhance your writing and assist your reader by:

  • showing the breadth of your research;
  • strengthening your academic arguments;
  • showing the reader the source of your information;
  • allowing the reader to consult your sources independently;
  • allowing the reader to verify your data.

About Vancouver Style

The Vancouver citation style is commonly used in medicine and science.Vancouver Style consists of:

  • citations to someone else's work in the text, indicated by the use of a number
  • a sequentially numbered reference list at the end of the document providing full details of the corresponding in-text reference

It follows rules established by the International committee of Medical Journal Editors, now maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It is also known as Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals.


In its simplest form, a number in superscript format placed in the text of the essay, indicates the relevant reference:

Citations are numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear in the text and each citation corresponds to a numbered reference, containing publication information about the source cited, in the reference list at the end of the publication, essay or assignment.

Once a source has been cited, the same number is used in all subsequent references. No distinction is made between print and electronic references when citing within the text.

A numbered list of references must be provided at the end of the paper:

The list should be arranged in the order of citation in the text of the publication, assignment or essay, not in alphabetical order.

List only one reference per reference number.

Referencing FAQs

What if there is no date or more than one publication year given?

What if there is no obvious author for an item on the Web?

What is the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?

What should I do if there is more than one place of publication given?

If an author has more than one family name, do I need to write both of them?

Do I have to reference lecture notes?

I'm re-using a source that I referred to earlier - do I give it another number and list it again?

I've used two chapters from an edited book. Should I reference the whole book in my bibliography as well as the chapters?