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Vancouver Referencing Style @ UCT: In-text citation guidelines

Vancouver Referencing Style is extensively used in the biomedical and health sciences.

In-text guidelines

What is in-text citation?

It's also known as textual citation. It is the process when you quote and mention sources of information or ideas in the body of your paper. In the in-text citation you provide only limited information about the source you are citing from. The detailed information about the source is given in the reference list at the end of your paper. In-text citation is threefold:

            Direct quote =  this is when you take the direct words as they appear in the source you are quoting from.

            Paraphrase = this is when you re-write the passage from the source in your own words.

            Summarise = this is when you extract only the main idea(s) from the source and re-write it in your own words.

In all of the above instances you must always acknowledge the original source of the idea or information.


How do you cite in Vancouver style? 

 •   Citations in the body of your paper are indicated by numbers. Depending on the style that your lecturer prefers, these numbers can be in superscript, or in Arabic numerals in either square  or round brackets, e.g.

                                                     (Superscript) =  Johnson² asserts that... OR

                                                     (Arabic numerals in square brackets) =  Johnson [2] asserts that ... OR

                                                     (Arabic numerals in round brackets) = Johnson (2) asserts that ...

•   Citation numbers are placed inside colons and semicolons, e.g. The dugs can be administered³:
    Citation numbers are placed outside full stops and commas, e.g. The drugs can be administered  

•   When citing the same reference for the second or subsequent time, re-use the same number you have assigned to that reference in the first time.

•   Direct quotes (exact words) must be enclosed in quotation marks and include page numbers when neccessary. The page numbers can be in round or square brackets e.g.

                                     Cox2(p.278) claims that “magnetic beads toys are hazardous for children.”

   If you are using the author's name in the text, only surnames are used. For a two-author reference, list both surnames; for references with more than two authors or authors and a group, include the first author's surname followed by "et al," "and associates," or "and colleagues."

•   If you are citing multiple references simultaneously and are inclusive numbers such as 1, 2, 3, mention
     the first and the last number and separate them by a hyphen, e.g.


•   Use abbreviation p for a single page and pp for multiple pages.

•   The citation number in the body of your paper corresponds to the number in your reference list, e.g.

In the body of your paper

Cox2 claims that “magnetic beads toys are hazardous for children.”   (note that this reference was cited second in the intext, hence the 
                                                                                                                                                citation number is 2).

In the reference list at the end of your paper

2. Cox N, editor. Clinical skills. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2005.  (note that since this reference was cited second in the intext, it will also be listed second in the reference list and the same citation number that was assigned in the intext must be used in the reference list).