Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Vancouver referencing guide

Numbering in the Vancouver style

In the Vancouver style, a consecutive number is allocated 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 two 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 or standard numbers in brackets in-text e.g. 1-4,10,12 or (1-4,10,12). The reference list is ordered numerically.

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 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 [Internet]. Canberra (Australia): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 4]. Report No.: INJCAT 204. Available from:
  2. Lee F, Mackenzie L, James C. Perceptions of older people living in the community about their fear of falling. Disabil Rehabil [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2020 Jan 17];30(23):1803-1811. doi:10.1080/09638280701669508
  3. Barker W. Assessment and prevention of falls in older people. Nurs Older People [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2019 Dec 4];26(6):18-24. doi:10.7748/nop.26.6.18.e586
  4. Sinclair AJ, Morley JE, Vellas B, editors. Pathy’s principles and practice of geriatric medicine [Internet]. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2012 [cited 2019 Dec 4]. doi:10.1002/9781119952930
  5. Reznik D. Fall prevention. Am J Nurs [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2019 Dec 4];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 [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2020 Jan 17];25(52):50-55.

Entering in-text citations

After the author's name                 

Johnson1 explains...  OR   Johnson (1) explains...

Note: If mentioning authors in text, only surnames are used. For a reference with two authors include both surnames (family names). e.g. Avery and Williams1 highlight the importance…

For references with three or more authors, list the first author then et al. e.g. Azar et al2 reported on this association…

To the right of commas and full stops …is a widely accepted theory.3   OR   …is a widely accepted theory.(3)
To the left of colons and semi colons ...lists the following6: motivation...   OR   ...lists the following (6): motivation...

Multiple sources can be inserted at a single point separated by a comma. Three or more consecutive citations are joined with a hyphen. an issue faced by many in the industry.1,3,5-7

If citing different pages from a single source at different places in the text, page numbers can be included in the in-text citation and the source listed once in the reference list. Page numbers can be added for direct quotations if necessary (please check with your Lecturer).

...pain response should be considered.9(p83)  OR  ...pain response should be considered.(9 p83)

Author variations in reference list entries

  • Author surnames (family names) are followed by their two-letter initials with no space or full stop between the initials e.g. Smith JA
  • Commas are used to separate each author's name e.g. Khan FM, Gibbons JP
  • Author variations below apply to all reference types (books, journal articles, websites etc.)
No author        

Omit the author and list the title first

Joint replacements should not cost an arm and a leg. The Australian [Internet]. 2016 Sept 22 [cited 2019 Nov 20];Commentary:13. Available from:

One to six authors

List all authors in the reference

Khan FM, Gibbons JP. Khan’s the physics of radiation therapy. 5th ed. Philadelphia (USA): Wolters Kluwer Health; 2014.

More than six authors    

List the first six authors in the reference followed by et al.

Naghavi M, Abajobir AA, Abbafati C, Abbas KM, Abd-Allah F, Abera SF, et al. Global, regional, and national age-sex specific mortality for 264 causes of death, 1980-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 4];390(10100):1151-1210. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32152-9

Organisation as author

List the organisation name in full

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Non-medical use of pharmaceuticals: trends, harms and treatment, 2006-07 to 2015-16. Canberra (Australia): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2017. Report No.: HSE 195.