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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Vancouver Referencing Style:  In-text citations

UON Library guide to Vancouver Style for UON students

In-text citations: general rules

Click the tabs above for information on citing quotations and secondary sources


General rules:

  • Vancouver style uses citation numbers within the text which refer to the corresponding numbered entries in the reference list.
  • A citation number is placed at the point within the sentence where information from another source is paraphrased, quoted or referred to.
  • The number can either appear within round brackets, eg, (2), or superscripted, eg, 2
  • Citation numbers are numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear in the text.
  • For repeated citations: the citation number originally assigned to a reference is re-used if that reference is cited again later in the text.
  • If citing multiple references in the one citation:
    • consecutive citation numbers are entered as a range, separated by a hyphen, eg, 5-7
    • non-consecutive citation numbers are each separated by a comma, eg, 2,5,7
  • Citation numbers should be placed after full-stops and commas, and before colons and semicolons
  • Page numbers are rarely included within citation numbers. However, if including a quotation add the pages to the citation number, eg, 5(pp6-7)

  • The placement and format of in-text citations may vary according to the rules of a particular journal or your lecturer. Always double-check before applying these guidelines.

Citing direct quotations


If you include a direct quote, that is word-for-word, from a source, the in-text citation must also include the page numbers where the quotation appeared. Direct quotations must be accurate and follow the wording, spelling, and punctuation of the original source.

See the general rules for in-text citations for more details.


  • For short quotations, 4 lines and under, enclose the quotation within quotation marks and incorporate into the text, e.g.

…there is overwhelming evidence even when the possibility of bias is assessed, there is no guarantee that reviewers have assessed or interpreted it appropriately.18(p335)

  • Long quotations over 4 lines should be indented in a separate block to the text. Quotation marks are not required, e.g.

Over recent decades increasing emphasis has been placed on ensuring healthcare decisions are based on the best evidence:

Interest in the role of qualitative research in evidence-based health care is growing. However, the methods currently used to identify quantitative research do not translate easily to qualitative research. These difficulties relate to the descriptive nature of the titles used in some qualitative studies, the variable information provided in abstracts, and the differences in the indexing of these studies across databases.15(p290)

In-text citations for secondary sources


Please note: you should always use the original work wherever possible. Use the secondary sources only when it is impossible to obtain the original publication, e.g. it may be published in another language, or out of print.


Sources cited within another source are known as 'secondary sources'. In-text references to secondary sources must name the original source, as well as provide a citation to the secondary source.

For example, Grieve and Gear’s work from 1966 is being quoted in Kirtley’s 2006 book on page 23. If you could not access the original Grieve and Gear’s work from 1966, you were permitted to reference it as a secondary source, e.g. 

… Grieve and Gear's pattern, as quoted in Kirtley,28(p23)  has been used widely in  ...

In the reference list,  list the work you have actually consulted, i.e. Kirtley’s 2006 book, not Grieve and Gear’s work from 1966.

By following this pattern you are crediting the original author while being able to reference the source you are actually using.

For more information see the page on Secondary sources.

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