Using the Vancouver reference style

This page provides information from the NTNU University Library to help you when you need to use the Vancouver style.

Norsk versjon: Bruke referansestilen Vancouver

icon: pencil See also "Academic Writing" and Using and citing sources

Vancouver-style #

The Vancouver style is often used in medicine and the natural sciences, and sometimes in technology. Check which reference style your department recommends before you begin writing your paper.

Other styles

  • APA style is used in the social sciences, arts and humanities.
  • Chicago style is used in the social sciences, arts and humanities.
  • Harvard style is used in the social sciences, technology and natural sciences.

Examples of the Vancouver style in a reference list

 Vancouver - Examples

The examples show how to write references in text and in the reference list based on what kind of source you are citing.

Reference list in Vancouver style #

When writing a reference list in Vancouver style:

  • Number all references.
  • Arrange your list in the order in which the references appear in your text.
  • If there are more than 6 authors, list the first 6 authors followed by “et al.”
  • Use official abbreviations for titles of journals (if available).

The Vancouver style for in-text citation #

When using the Vancouver style in-text:

  • Write the reference with an Arabic number in brackets after the citation.
  • If you reference a source more than once, use the same number you used the first time you referred to that particular source.
  • If you cite several sources in one sentence, cite them as (2-4) to refer to sources 2, 3 and 4 and (2-4,8) to refer to sources 2, 3, 4 and 8.
  • You need to give a reference even when the author's name is stated in the sentence.

References #

For example: Researchers such as Warwick, Taylor and Smith and King et al. (7-9) found that…

Quotations #

Quotations of 3 lines or fewer are placed in quotation marks (before and after). Quotations of more than 3 lines should have their own indented paragraph, without quotation marks.


  • Short quotation: “Sitering vil si ordrett gjengivelse av andres arbeider. Da skal det være ordrett, og ikke misbrukt i forhold til den sammenheng sitatet brukes i” (3, p. 125).
  • The author’s name is a part of the text: Stene defines quoting as: ““Sitering vil si ordrett gjengivelse av andres arbeider” (3, p. 125).
  • Source with authors: Furseth and Everett write that: “Ved direkte sitater skal henvisningen gi informasjon om forfatter, årstall og sidetall” (4, p. 141).

Indirect quotations (paraphrases) #

An Indirect quotation (paraphrase) is a reformulation of the original text.

Example: Furseth and Everett (4) maintain that the primary reason behind use of references and bibliography is the idea of research as a collective endeavour.Research should be verifiable, and those reading your work should be able to find those sources your material is based upon.

More on the Vancouver style #

The information on how you write references in text and in a bibliographic list using Vancouver style is from the style guide of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), Citing Medicine (1). There is no official manual for the Vancouver style, but the NLM’s style guide is considered the most authoritative manual. Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, published by International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, includes a list with examples of references in the Vancouver style.

1. Patrias K. Citing Medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 [updated 2 October 2015; cited 13 October 2016]. Available from:

Contact #

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