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Human Physiology

Citing in Human Physiology

Research is a conversation -- we are constantly building off of other's research to contribute to the body of knowledge, refining old theories and creating new ones. But in order to do this, the work you create needs to be accessible; if you don't include citations or if your citations are incorrect, it means people will have a harder time finding the research that influenced you. This disrupts the conversation, so having clear and correct citations is important in furthering research in the field.

Citing your resources correctly also will help you avoid plagiarism, an issue that has serious consequences. Students found plagiarizing may fail a course or even be asked to leave the program, while faculty and researchers have been known to lose careers over it. So citing your resources is very important!

A citation is not simply a copied URL or the title of an article. URLs change, and sometimes there are multiple articles with the same title. Having all of the details, including volume, issue and page number can help researchers decipher between similar works with the same title. For most of your assignments at Gonzaga, you will generally be asked to use MSSE (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise) or APA format. Make sure to read your assignment instructions to verify what citation style is required for your assignment.

You will need to cite your sources every time you are presenting information that is not an original thought or "common knowledge." Anytime you have to look up information for your paper, you should be inserting a citation. For a literature review, it might feel like you are citing a lot -- that is good! Unless you are writing an essay or describing original research, you should have many citations throughout your paper.

MSSE Format

MSSE format is very similar to AMA format. A few differences include:

  • In-text reference citations use numbers in parentheses (1), not superscripts1
  • "Unpublished" material (such as internet websites, graduate theses, and personal communications) are not acceptable as references.
  • Page numbers are required on all book references.

The reference list shall be in order of citation (rather than in alphabetic order) and numbered. The format for references is that which has been adopted by the United States National Library of Medicine. Authors should choose the NLM option in their reference software package (e.g., Zotero or RefWorks).

A few examples are listed below, but more in depth information about citing references in NLM format can be found in Citing Medicine, 2nd edition.



Petitti DB, Crooks VC, Buckwalter JG, Chiu V. Blood pressure levels before dementia. Arch Neurol. 2005 Jan;62(1):112-6.


American Diabetes Association. Diabetes update. Nursing. 2003 Nov;Suppl:19-20, 24.


Iverson C, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, Glass RM, Glitman P, Lantz JC, Meyer HS, Smith JM, Winker MA, Young RK. American Medical Association manual of style. 9th ed. Baltimore (MD): Williams & Wilkins; c1998. 660 p.


Kolotylo C, MacDonald JM. Exploration of the relationships among personal and illness-related factors, migraine headache pain, the chronic pain experience, coping, depressive symptomatology, disability, and quality of life in women with migraine headache [dissertation]. [Milwaukee (WI)]: University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee; 1999. 295 p.


Task Force on Accreditation of Health Professions Education. Strategies for change and improvement: the report of the Task Force on Accreditation of Health Professions Education. San Francisco: University of California, San Francisco, Center for the Health Professions; 1999 Jun. 86 p.

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