• 3-minute read
  • 22nd March 2020

What to Do with Missing Information in AMA Referencing

AMA referencing is commonly used in medical writing. But what do you do when you can’t find the author of a source? Or when a source has no date of publication or page numbers? In this post, we look at your options for handling missing information in AMA referencing (11th edition).

Sources with No Author

When a source is missing a named author, you can omit this detail. Instead of an author’s name, the reference will thus begin with the source title:

1. 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water. Healthline. https://anon.healthline.com/are-you-drinking-enough-water. Accessed April 29, 2019.

Websites are the sources most likely to not name an author. However, most sources will name an author somewhere, so remember to check carefully.

Sources with No Page Numbers

In AMA referencing, when quoting a source, you should include page numbers in citations. However, if a source has no page numbers (e.g. a website or certain ebooks), you can just give the citation number.

Meanwhile, in the reference list, you should include the full page range for any source that is part of a larger container volume (e.g. chapter in a book, article in a journal). Again, though, if a source lacks page numbers, you can leave this detail out. And if a source uses a different style of numbering (e.g. paragraph or chapter numbers), you can use this in place of regular page numbers.

Sources with No Date of Publication

When a source is missing a publication date, use ‘date unknown’ in its place:

2. Francis T. Treatment of Allergies: A Guide to Best Practice. New York, NY: PI Publications; date unknown.

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However, make sure to include a date of access for all online sources.

Books with No Known Publisher

When you can’t find the publisher for a print source, write ‘Publisher unknown’ in place of the place of publication and publisher. For instance, if we did not know the publisher for a book, we would list it as follows:

2. Francis T. Treatment of Allergies: A Guide to Best Practice. Publisher unknown; 2018.

As elsewhere, though, check carefully before omitting this detail.

What to Do with Missing Information in AMA Referencing

AMA referencing is quite flexible when it comes to missing information, often simply allowing you to omit it. The key is making sure you provide enough detail for the reader to find the source cited.

To make sure your references are clear and consistent, we suggest having your work proofread. Proofed even offers a specialised AMA proofreading service, so why not give it a try today?

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