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Scholarly Journal Articles: Structure and Function


The list of references includes all the works cited by the authors of the article. The most common types of works cited are journal articles and books, but a wide variety of other "publications" may also be listed, such as meeting abstracts, scientific posters, newspaper articles, web sites, government documents, laws and regulations, blog posts, and personal emails.

How many references were listed by the Villamil-Gomez, et al., article? By the Warren, et al., article? By the Granath article?

Why does the Granath article have so many more references than the other two articles?

Why are references important? The primary reason for citing references is to give credit to authors whose ideas contributed to the current work. An equally important function is to provide sufficient bibliographic information about the work cited such that the reader is able to identify and obtain the original work.

Some of the most popular citation styles used by health sciences journals include:

  • AMA style, from the American Medical Association
  • APA style, from the American Psychological Association
  • Chicago Manual of Style
  • Citing Medicine, from the United States National Library of Medicine
  • Scientific Style and Format, from the Council of Scientific Editors

Regardless of the style used, most journal article citations include the following elements:

  • Author(s)
  • Title of the article
  • Journal in which the article is published
  • Year of publication
  • Volume of the journal
  • Issue of the journal
  • Page numbers
  • doi (if available)