Engineering: IEEE Citation Basics for Beginners

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What is IEEE Citation Style?

IEEE stands for “Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers.” The IEEE Style Guide instructs Engineers how to reference data or information from someone else’s work within their own work.

IEEE Citation Style has 2 components: (1) “in-text” citations, and (2) a “references” list at the end.

In-Text Citation Basics

In-Text Citations are numbers, placed within square brackets (e.g. [1]), which go directly inside your text any time you refer to any resource (a book, journal article, previous study, etc.).

After you refer to someone else’s work, you add a number at the end of your sentence, but before the period.


E.g. One study found that when people ride their bicycles to work they are happier throughout the day [

Directly Quoting:

E.g. One study found that “there is a correlation between cycling to work and improved mood [1].”

Each resource that you cite gets its own number. If you cite the same resource again, use the same number as before—do not give it a new number.

If you are citing more than one resource to make a point, use multiple numbers separated by commas or by a dash (if applicable).

E.g. Three experiments have been completed on this topic so far [2], [4], [7].

E.g. Multiple studies have arrived at this conclusion [1]–[5].

References List Basics (Use the Title “References” at the Top of the List)

The references list appears at the end of your project. It is a record of all of the works you cited. The numbers in the references list match the numbers in your text (i.e. [1]=[1]). The list is ordered chronologically ([1], [2], [3], etc.), not alphabetically. Start each reference with a bracketed number (e.g. [1]). In all references, abbreviate the author or editor’s first name, using just the first initial(s), combined with the full last name (e.g. J. Smith).

In this list, be sure to provide the full citation for each resourced you used. Here are some examples:

Book – 1 author

[1] Author, Title of Book. City of Publisher: Abbreviated Publisher Name, Year.

Chapter in a Book (whole book by 1 author)

[2] Author, “Title of Book Chapter,” in Title of Book. City of Publisher: Abbrev. Publisher Name, Year, pp.#–#.

Chapter in a Book with an Editor (each chapter by a different author)

[3] Author, “Title of Book Chapter,” in Title of Book, Editor Name, Ed. City of Publisher: Abbrev. Publisher .

Name, Year, pp. #–#.

Article from a Journal – 1 author 

[4] Author, “Title of Journal Article,” Abbrev. Name of Journal, vol. x, no. y, pp.#–#, Abbrev. Month, Year.


[5] Author, “Title of Report,” Abbrev. Name of Organization, Abbrev. City/State of Organization, Report #, Year.

Extra Tips:

– If book or journal article has 2 authors, list both using “and” (e.g. K.P. Smith and M.Z. Jones)

– If a book or journal article has 6 or more authors, use first listed author name, then et al. (e.g. J.Q. Lee, et al.)

For the full IEEE Style Manual see: (*pp. 34-40)