How to write an essay in Vancouver Format

The Vancouver format of citing papers is used primarily for medical articles. Undergraduates generally will not need to use this style. It is very close to the Harvard style, which is also used in the medical field. Sometimes Vancouver format is called author-number format.

The author-number name refers to the fact that a citation appears in the text with a number in parentheses (1) which gets incremented with each new work cited. The bibliography lists the citations in order, so a reader only has to find the number in the bibliography to find the citation. Sometimes, the numbers can be in superscript instead of parentheses1. When using superscripted citations, the citation only has to appear in the bibliography, not at the bottom of the page where it appears.

1. Grinspoon L, Bakalar JB. Marijuana: the forbidden medicine. London: Yale University Press; 1993.

Notice that only the first word of the title is capitalized. This is similar to APA format, used with psychology journals.

The format for the bibliography entries is like the example above: ‘author(s), last name first. Title. City: Publisher; date.’ The punctuation in this example is how it should appear in the bibliography. Another important point to remember is that in Vancouver format, the bibliography will  not be in alphabetical order. The order matches the order that the works are cited in the paper or essay.

            Vancouver format may use abbreviations, as long as the citation is clear. For example, The New England Journal of Medicine may be abbreviated ‘NEJM’. Also, ‘University’ may be abbreviated ‘Univ,’ ‘February’ may be abbreviated ‘Feb.’ You may shorten page numbers as well: ‘101-151’ may be written ‘101-51.’