IEEE citation style

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The IEEE citation style (based on the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers that is a professional organization supporting many branches of engineering, computer science, and information technology) is broadly accepted for writing research papers that are usually focused in technical fields such as computer science.

IEEE citation style includes in-text citations, numbered in square brackets, which refer to the full citation listed in the reference list at the end of the paper.

In-text citation

It is not necessary to mention an author's name, pages used, or date of publication in the in-text citation. Instead, refer to the source with a number in a square bracket, e.g. [1], that will then correspond to the full citation in your reference list.

Place bracketed citations within the line of text, before any punctuation, with a space before the first bracket. Number your sources as you cite them in the paper. Once you have referred to a source and given it a number, continue to use that number as you cite that source throughout the paper.

When citing multiple sources at once, the preferred method is to list each number separately, in its own brackets, using a comma or dash between numbers, as such: [1], [3], [5] or [1] - [5].

Examples of in-text citations:

  • "...end of the line for my research [13]."
  • "This theory was first put forward in 1987 [1]."
  • "Scholtz [2] has argued that..."
  • "Several recent studies [3], [4], [15], [16] have suggested that...."
  • "For example, see [7]."


The Reference List appears at the end of your paper and provides the full citations for all the references you have used.  List all references numerically. Your Reference List should contain enough details that when someone is reading your paper can identify and find the material that you were referring in the paper.

Some things you should know:

  • Align references left
  • Place number of entry at left margin, enclosed in square brackets
  • Single-space each entry, double-space between every new entry

Reference examples

  • Book

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, Book Title, edition (if not first). Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

  • Electronic Book

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname. (Year, Month Day). Book Title (edition) [Type of medium]. Available: URL

Note: If the e-book is a direct equivalent of a print book e.g. in PDF format, you can reference it as a normal print book.

  • Journal article

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of article,” Title of journal abbreviated in Italics, vol. number, issue number, page numbers, month, year.

  • Reports

Note: The general form for citing technical reports is to place the name and location of the company or institution after the author and title and to give the report number and date at the end of the reference. If the report has a volume number add it after the year.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of report,” Abbreviated Name of Company., City of Company., State, report number, year.

  • Online Documents

If you are using documents such as a report, conference paper, standard, patent or thesis online and it also exists as an identical print equivalent i.e. with the same format and pagination, it can be usually be referenced as the print version. If it is e-only, you can make the standard reference template an electronic version by adding the material type in square brackets

e.g. [Online] after the document title. If there is no specific document title you can place this after the document number (e.g. patent number).

  • Websites

Note: Include as much of the key information as you can find for a given website. If a web page has no personal author, you can use a corporate author. Failing that, you can use either Anon. (for anonymous) or it is permissible to use the title of the site.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Authors Surname. (Year, Month. Day). Title of the web page [Online]. Available: URL


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