Numbered citations

In the Vancouver style, numbers are used to denote in-text citations in your research paper. Numbers are allocated consecutively to each reference as it is cited for the first time in the text of the assignment (i.e. the first citation that appears in-text is number one, the next unique citation that appears in-text is number 2 and so on). This number becomes the unique identifier of that source and if the source is cited again in-text, the same number is repeated. Vancouver uses superscript numbers in-text, e.g. 1-4,10,12

Placement of in-text citations

Include citations:

  • After the author’s name, e.g. Johnson1 explains…
  • To the right of commas and full stops, e.g. This is a widely accepted theory.2
  • To the left of colons and semi colons, e.g. The study lists the following3: motivation,…

Multiple citations can be inserted at a single point in-text, separated by a comma with no spaces in between, e.g. This issue has been faced by many in the industry.1,2,4,7 When there are three or more consecutive citations, join the first and last in the series with a hyphen, e.g. The condition has been reported in a number of studies.4-7

Page numbers

If citing different pages from a single source at different places in the text, page numbers can be included in the citation and the source listed once in the reference list. Place the page number(s) in brackets directly following the numbered citation. Use p for a single page or pp for multiple pages, e.g. …pain response should be considered.8(p83),9,12(pp3,5)

Please check with your tutor if they require you to provide page numbers for direct quotes.

Author names in-text

If mentioning authors in text, only surnames (family names) are used. For a reference with two authors include both surnames, e.g. Avery and Williams1 highlight the importance of this method. For references with three or more authors, list the first author then et al (meaning and others), e.g. Azar et al2 reported on this association.

Sample paragraph and reference list

In Australia falls are one of the main causes of injury-related hospitalisations, with the elderly representing the majority of cases.1 Accidental falls in older persons can have a detrimental effect on their mental wellbeing.2,3 “The psychological aspects, especially fear of falling, loss of confidence and increased anxiety, can be more disabling than the physical ones”.3 It is therefore important that effective programs are implemented to reduce the incidence of falls.4-6


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Trends in Hospitalised Injury, Australia: 2007-08 to 2016-17. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2019. INJCAT 204. Accessed November 26, 2020.
  2. Lee F, Mackenzie L, James C. Perceptions of older people living in the community about their fear of falling. Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(23):1803-1811. doi:10.1080/09638280701669508
  3. Barker W. Assessment and prevention of falls in older people. Nurs Older People. 2014;26(6):18-24. doi:10.7748/nop.26.6.18.e586
  4. Sinclair AJ, Morley JE, Vellas B, eds. Pathy’s Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine. 5th ed. John Wiley & Sons; 2012. Accessed October 10, 2018. doi:10.1002/9781119952930
  5. Reznik D. Fall prevention. Am J Nurs. 2013;113(7):12. doi:10.1097/01.NAJ.0000431897.51118.69
  6. Jones D, Whitaker T. Preventing falls in older people: assessment and interventions. Nurs Stand. 2011;25(52):50-55.

See a sample journal article in the Vancouver referencing style:

Astell-Burt T, Feng X. Association of urban green space with mental health and general health among adults in Australia. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(7):e198209. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8209