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HLTB15: Introduction to Health Research Methodology

Winter 2021

Writing and Plagiarism Guidance

What is Plagiarism?

Broadly speaking, plagiarism is failing to give credit for any ideas or expressions of ideas that are not your own. Plagiarism includes:

  • Direct plagiarism: copying entire sentences or paragraphs from another source without crediting the source
  • Mosaic plagiarism: blending copied words, phrases or ideas in with your own writing without crediting the source
  • Improper paraphrasing or summarizing: putting an author's ideas into your own words without crediting the source


Writing Help

ICMJE Style (aka Vancouver)

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) publishes guidance for authors about the conduct, reporting, editing, and publication of scholarly works in medical journals. This guidance is widely used across the sciences.

In their guidance document, the ICMJE recommends a system for references that is based on a style developed by the National Library of Medicine. This referencing style is called by many names, such as ICMJE Recommendations style, Uniform Recommendations style, and Vancouver style.

Style Overview

In the ICMJE style, sources are cited in the text using a numbering system, and they are listed on a references page at the end of the document.

In-Text Citations

  • Each time you refer to a source in your text, insert a superscript (raised) number after the relevant part of the sentence.
  • Sources are assigned numbers consecutively, in the order they are first mentioned in the text. For example, if the work you're referring to is the third source you mention in the paper, give it the number three.
  • If you refer to the source in your paper again, re-use the number you gave the source the first time you mentioned it. For example, if it was the third source referenced in your paper, continue to insert the number three in superscript each time you discuss the source.
Superscript in Word

Use the superscript function in Word to insert the numbers into your text. The button is circled in the image below:

Reference List

  • Prepare a reference list at end of your paper, on a separate page called "References"
  • The superscript number you inserted in your text corresponds to a numbered entry in your reference list. The reference entry provides the complete information about the source.
  • The references are listed in the order they were mentioned in your text. For example, the source that is cited third in-text is assigned the number three in your reference list.
  • Each reference is listed only once since the same number is used throughout your text.

Creating References

Reference examples for the most commonly used materials are provided here to get you started. They are adapted from the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Samples of Formatted References for Authors of Journal Articles.

Journal Article

In ICMJE style, journal titles are abbreviated. To look up a journal's abbreviation, consult the NLM Journal Catalogue or Web of Science's list of Journal Title Abbreviations.

1-6 Authors


1. Author AA, Author BB. Title of article. Abbr Journal Title. Year;Volume(Issue):startpage-endpage. doi.


1. Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(4):284-7. doi:10.1056/nejmsb020632.

7+ Authors

Articles with more than six authors should list the first six authors, followed by et al.


2. Author AA, Author BB, Author CC, Author DD, Author EE, Author FF, et al. Title of article. Abbr Journal Title. Year;Volume(Issue):startpage-endpage. doi.


2. De Castro F, Barrientos-Gutierrez T, Braverman-Bronstein A, Santelli J, Place JM, Eternod-Aramburu M, et al. Adolescent access to information on contraceptives: a mystery client study in Mexico. J Adolesc Health. 2018;62(3):265-72. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.08.001.


Personal Author(s)


3. Author AA, Author BB. Title of book. # edition. Location: Publisher; Year.


3. Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Kobayashi GS, Pfaller MA. Medical microbiology. 4th ed. St. Louis; Mosby; 2002.

Editor(s) as Author(s)


4. Author AA, Author BB, editors. Title of book. # edition. Location: Publisher; Year.


4. Gilstrap LC 3rd, Cunningham FG, VanDorsten JP, editors. Oberative obstetrics. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002.

Author(s) and Editor(s)


5. Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Title of book. # edition. Editor AA, editor. Location: Publisher; Year.


5. Breedlove GK, Schorfheide AM. Adolescent pregnancy. 2nd ed. Wieczorek PR, editor. White Plains (NY): March of Dimes Education Services; 2001.


Book Chapter


6. Chapter Author AA, Chapter Author BB. Title of chapter. In: Editor AA, Editor BB, editors. Title of book. Location: Publisher; Year. Page #s of chapter.


6. Meltzer PS, Kallioniemi A, Trent JM. Chromosome alterations in human solid tumors. In: Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, editors. The genetic basis of human cancer. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002. p. 93-113.


Print Report


8. Author AA. Title of report. Location: Performing Agency; Date. Report No.: report number. Contract No.: contract number. Sponsored by Sponsoring Agency.


8. Russell ML, Goth-Goldstein R, Apte MG, Fisk WJ. Method for measuring the size distribution of airborne Rhinovirus. Berkeley (CA): Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Environmental Energy Technologies Dvision; 2002 Jan. Report No.: LBNL49574. Contract No.: DEAC0376SF00098. Sponsored by the Department of Energy.


Online Report


9. Author AA/Organization. Title of report [Internet]. Location: Sponsor/Publisher; Date [revised Date, if applicable; cited Date]. Length. Report number if available. Available from: URL.


9. United States Federal Communicators Network. Communicators guide for federal, state, regional, and local communicators [Internet]. Washington (DC): Department of Agriculture (US); 2000 [revised 2001 Dec; cited 2006 Nov 1]. 75 p. Available from:

Electronic Material


Homepage or Entire Website


10. Title of the website [Internet]. Location of site sponsor/publisher: Sponsor/Publisher; Copyright date [date updated if available; date cited]. Available from: URL.


10. [Internet]. Chicago: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; c2016 [cited 2016 Dec 27]. Available from:


Part of a Website


11. Title of the website [Internet]. Location of site sponsor/publisher: Sponsor/Publisher; Copyright date [date updated if available; date cited]. Title of part of the website; [approximate length in screens or paragraphs]. Available from: URL.


11. American Medical Association [Internet]. Chicago: The Association; c1995-1996 [cited 2016 Dec 27]. Office of International Medicine; [about 2 screens]. Available from:

Other Sources

For examples of other types of sources, and more complete information about ICMJE style, visit the National Library of Medicine's website or refer to the online book Citing Medicine (available through the library's website).


The following text is taken from: Brown HK, Speechley KN, Macnab J, Natale R, Campbell MK. Neonatal morbidity associated with late preterm and early term birth: the roles of gestational age and biological determinants of preterm birth. Int J Epidemiol. 2014 Jun;43(3):802-14. Doi:10.1093/ije/dyt251.


References in Text

Compared with term infants, infants born late preterm are at increased risk for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission,1-2 hospital readmission2-4 and longer hospital stay.5 They are also at greater risk for respiratory morbidities,1,3,5,6 temperature instability,5,6 hypoglycaemia,5,6 sepsis,1,2 hyperbilirubinaemia,3,5,6 necrotizing enterocolitis,2 neurological morbidities,1,2 and even neonatal and infant mortality.7


Reference List


  1. Cheng YW, Kaimal AJ, Bruckner TA, Hallaron DR, Caughey AB. Perinatal morbidity associated with late preterm deliveries compared with deliveries between 37 and 40 weeks of gestation. BJOG. 2011 Nov;118(12):1446-54.
  2. Melamed N, Klinger G, Tenebaum-Gavish K, et al. Short-term neonatal outcome in low-risk, spontaneous, singleton, late preterm deliveries. Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Aug;114(2):253-60.
  3. Jaiswal A, Murki S, Gaddam P, Reddy A. Early neonatal morbidities in late preterm infants. Indian Pediatr. 2010 Aug;48(8):607-11.
  4. Tomashek KM, Shapiro-Mendoza CK, Weiss J, Kotelchuck M, Barfield W, Evans S, et al. Semin Perinatol. 2006 Apr;30(2):61-8.
  5. Leone A, Ersfeld P, Adams M, Meyer Schiffer P, Bucher HU, Arlettaz R. Neonatal morbidity in singleton late preterm infants compared with full-term infants. Acta Paediatr. 2012 Jan;101(1):e6-10.
  6. Bird TM, Bronstein JM, Hall RW, Lowery CL, Nugent R, Mays GP. Late preterm infants: birth outcomes and health care utilization in the first year. Pediatrics. 2010 Aug;126(2):e311-9.
  7. Tomashek KM, Shapiro-Mendoza CK, Davidoff MJ, Petrini JR. Differences in mortality between late-preterm and term singleton infants in the United States, 1995-2002. J Pediatr. 2007 Nov;151(5):450-6.