Vancouver Referencing: All You Need to Know about It

There are a lot of formats that one can use to write references, such as MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard. But, before you start to write your work, you should verify the required format that your professor wants you to use. It is important to note everything corresponding to the criteria provided by your professor or your department. If you do not apply those rules given to you by your university, you will lose points off of your final mark. You don’t want that, do you?

It is necessary to remark that when you start writing an assignment, you need to make notes of the indispensable data that you find. Those details will be crucial in providing correct references. Moreover, you will be able to find that information again if need be. Nothing is worse than doing weeks, if not months, of research only to find that when it comes time to do the actual writing, your notes are disorganized. In order to write your essay properly and without unnecessary trouble, it is recommended to apply the Vancouver referencing style. This style uses a numerical approach, and for those who think mathematically, this citation style will suit their needs fairly well.

How to do Vancouver References

The Vancouver citation and referencing system can be used to reference various types of media: books, articles, lectures, electronic sources, etc. Here are a few general guidelines on how to do citation with this style. Be sure to check with your professor or advisor before using this style in order to make sure it is ok with your institution.

In-text Citation

An in-text citation should be used when you directly quote another book, article, etc., or when you are paraphrasing another’s data.

  • Use arabic numerals in squares, brackets for your citations, and choose either parentheses, square brackets, or superscripts. Choose one method to use throughout your paper. Don’t alternate between all three.
  • Reference numbers are generally placed after commas and to the left of colons and semicolons.
  • Place the reference number to the right of a period at the end of a sentence.
  • You may also include the page number along with the superscript, parentheses, or square brackets
  • If you want to cite works from multiple authors, use different reference numbers for each.
  • For example . . .
    • Lord Wellington said "publish and be damned".(1)
    • Lord Wellington said "I have never seen so many bad hats in all my life".[1]
    • Lord Wellington said "All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don’t know by what you do; that’s what I called ‘guess what was on the other side of the hill".1


  • For citing a book, it is recommended that you follow the subsequent instructions . . .
  • Enter the author’s last name followed by his first two initials.
  • Abbreviate pages in the following manner: p. 12 - 45 or p. 128 - 29.
  • Abbreviate months by using only their first three letters.
  • Example . . .
    • Davidov DV, In the Service of the Tsar Against Napoleon. First Edition. London: Pen and Sword; 1998.

Journals and Periodicals

For citing an article from a journal or periodical, please follow these guidelines . . .

  • For citing an article with one author, apply the same rule that is used for citing a book with one author.
  • If an article has more than one author, separate their names with a comma. If an article has more than six authors, write the names of the first six followed by ‘et al.’
  • Abbreviate all journal titles.
  • Write the number of the volume.
  • Abbreviate pages as you would with a book.
  • Example . . .
    • Smith JB, Doe JD, Johnson DC, Nelson H. How to Fish. Arch Fishing. 2004 Jul;23(2):122-9

Newspaper Articles

Abide by the following guidelines when using an article from a newspaper . . .

  • Do not abbreviate news article titles.
  • State the place of publication after the title.
  • Give the beginning of the page number and the column number.
  • Write the author’s name as you would with a book.
  • Omit the author’s name if it is not given.
  • Abbreviate months as earlier indicated.
  • Example . . .
    • Smith JH. Rangers Advance to Stanley Cup Finals. New York Times. New York City. 1994 May 28: 13 (col.2). [cited 2012 Feb 10].


Follow these tips when citing a presentation/lecture . . .

  • Write the speaker’s name as you would with a book.
  • Write the title of the lecture.
  • State when (year) and where the lecture/presentation was given.
  • For example…
    • Smith JS. Lecture 24: Economy of the Comanche Nation 1763-1812. Lecture presented at; 2008; Southern Methodist University.

Web Page

More and more students are looking to the Internet and social media to find information for their research. Our Vancouver citation guide also defines how to properly cite material that is found online. Here we cover how to properly cite homepages and parts of homepages. Keep in mind that you can also cite Twitter feeds, blogs, etc. If you have any questions on how to use these types of media in your bibliography, our writers can answer any questions you have.

  • List the names of authors as they appear on the site.
  • Write the title of the homepage.
  • Write [Internet] after the title of the site.
  • Write the place of publication.
  • Write the year the information was published.
  • Write the date you saw the information.
  • Examples . . .
    • Homepage
      • Smith JS. The History of Hockey in Canada [Internet]. Toronto: NHL; 2014 October 15. Available from: place the full URL of the website here.
    • Part of a Homepage
      • Water Wells in Afghanistan [Internet]. Washington DC: Alan FT; 1998. How Water Influences Political Power in Afghanistan; 1997 [Three pages]. Available from: place the full URL of the website here.  

Legal Resources

If you decide to enter the legal profession, the Vancouver style of referencing  also covers the citation of legal resources. Please follow these instructions for referencing legal cases and legislation…

  • Legal Cases
    • Include the name and all reference information relevant to the case.
    • If there is no volume or if the year is part of the title, use square brackets.
    • Do not alter spelling or capitalization.
    • Use multiple references if the case appears in multiple reports.
    • Example…
      • Smith v. Texas No. 10-135828 April 12, 1923
      • Nelson v. City of Smithville No. 123-456 October 14, 1924
  • Legislation
    • The year the law was enacted should be included in the title.
    • Do not alter spelling or capitalization.
    • Example…
      • Defense of the Real Act 1914 (UK)
      • Homestead Act 1862 (USA)

The referencing of legal documents, legislation, and court cases varies by country. Please be sure that you know how to properly cite laws and cases in accordance with each nation or state/province’s requirements.

Government and Technical Reports

Please follow these steps for writing references for government or technical reports.

  • Enter the author’s name as you would in a book, and if the report has more than one author, separate their names by a comma.
  • If there is no author, write the name of the organization that authored the report.
  • You may use the name of the author and the organization if both are included.
  • If there are no authors and only editors, write the names of the editors instead.
  • Write the name of the city where it was published, followed by the abbreviation for the state or province where it was published.
  • Include page numbers
  • Include the DOI and URL for electronic sources.
  • Examples
    • Print
      • Johnson AF, Feldenstein GB. Budget Report for 1932. Congressional Budget Office; 1933. 55 p.  Report No.: 5
      • Jorgenson HD. US Army War College. Leadership in the Burma Campaign 43-45. Carlisle, Penn: Strategic Studies Institute; 1989. 42 p.  Report No.: 132433
    • Electronic
      • Smith JD, Bassen BD. Utah Department of Agriculture. Water Usage by Farmers in Utah. [Internet]. Salt Lake City, UT [Cited 2013 Jan 13]. 33 p. Cat. No. PER 24. Available from: place URL here

EduBirdie Can Help You With Vancouver References

We hope that this Vancouver citation guide will help you to properly cite the sources you use in your paper. Remember, if you are using information in your paper that is not yours, it must be cited, and when in doubt, cite. You do not want to be accused of plagiarism. If you are, your academic career will be ruined.

If you doubt your ability to cite in the Vancouver citation style properly, EduBirdie has a staff of writers who can do it for you. We have dozens of writers who are waiting for your request for help. Not only can they help you with the Vancouver style, but they can also assist you with footnotes, appendices, bibliographies, APA, MLA, Chicago, MHRA referencing, Harvard, etc. No matter what you need, we have you covered.

If there is a particular source that you are looking to cite, and you did not find it in our guide, rest assured that we have expert writers who know how to cite every source there is.

EduBirdie is ready to accept your request for help no matter where you are. We get requests from from Australia to Ireland, from Sydney to Miami, from the University of New South Wales to Texas Tech University. We help students everywhere and with any issue! No matter what service do you need, be it math homework or law assignment help. Just go to our homepage and speak with a customer service representative in order to be connected with a writer. It’s the easiest decision you’ll make in your life!

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