What Is IEEE Citation?

By: Angelina Grin

6 min



What Is IEEE Citation?

IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), an organization that serves as an umbrella. It supports a multitude of engineering, computer science, and information technology-related fields. It publishes not only magazines and journals but also holds several conferences. IEEE is responsible for setting standards across different industries. Due to these reasons, the papers that are to be published must follow the "IEEE citation style." You will find guidelines about in-text citations and that incredibly cluttered reference list, which by the way, is organized numerically. The citation standards cover a vast set of sources that are used when students write a paper. These include books, online sources, periodicals, etc. You can always download the IEEE Editorial style manual to gain further insights.

In-Text Citation

When it comes to in-text citations, IEEE style suggests a very different approach as these papers are somewhat heavy on the reference side. To keep it professional and eliminate the difficulty of citing every source in the conventional manner (Adrian, 2001), you will be required to use numbers. Here are the guidelines that ieee.org suggests:

  • You will be placing square brackets containing the number, e.g. [3], [35], [43]. These numbers will indicate the specific reference listed at the end of your paper;
  • There shouldn't be punctuation at the start of the bracket;
  • You cannot use a citation number that is already allocated to a source;
  • There is no difference between the intext-citations of electronic and print references;
  • You don't need to mention the first initial of the Author's name or the paper's date.

Here are some examples that will give you a better idea:

  • "The study [7] has suggested..."
  • "For example, see [23] for ..."
  • When you are mentioning a reference, you can say "in [24], rather than writing the complete sentence "in the reference [24].

In-Text Citation of More than One Source

There will be instances where you will want to mention more than one source. Say, an article and a ph.d. dissertation. According to the IEEE style guide and APA and MLA, there are two methods, one is preferred, and the other is somewhat acceptable.

Preferred Method

This method will require you to put a comma or dash between each bracket. Do not forget to leave spaces in between. Here is how you will do it:

  • [4], [9], [14]
  • [5] - [8]

Acceptable Method

You can save yourself some time and use a single set of square brackets. For example:

  • [7, 9, 14]
  • [6 - 8]

Citing a Source Multiple Times

To back up your argument, you will have to mention a solid piece of literature multiple times. Here are the guidelines that you need to follow in those scenarios:

  • Never use ibid, cit or op;
  • Always repeat the number that you used earlier.

Citations that Require a Page Number

You don't need to mention the entire paper. There will be some significant areas of the research papers or the material you are using, which you will want to mention. For these purposes, use the following style in case of:

  • Page numbers: [4, pp. 7-13]
  • Chapter: [5, Ch. 5, pp. 15-23]
  • Figure: [6, Fig. 9]
  • Section: [7, Sec. 8.2]

Main Parts of a Referencing in IEEE Style

You must add a reference list at the end of your paper. It provides the complete information of the bracketed numbers that you used as in-text citations. You have to be very careful with this step as one mistake and lead the reader to a wrong source that can tarnish all of your efforts. To make it easier for you to understand an "IEEE reference", let us divide it into three main parts. The first part is the Author's name. The complete last name will follow the initials of the first name. The next part is the title of paper. You don't need to be quoting from a published article; it can be a patent or a conference paper. The title will always be in quotation marks. The last part is the title of the journal. Yes, you will be providing the correct source of the material you refer to in your research. This part will be in italics. The breakdown of the reference into three parts with different formatting helps the reader to gather information with just one glance. Here is an example of an article reference :

A. Addison Wesley, "A study on decision trees," Canada: Elsevier, 2001.

Here are the steps that you can follow when creating a reference list:

  • First, list all of the sources in their raw form;
  • After this, start numbering them in the correct order;
  • Then, use a reference generator. So, if you are citing an article, enter the doi # of the article;
  • Copy-paste the reference;
  • You will have to create a hanging indent for each reference.

Electronic Documents

There are several types of documents that you will need to cite. Here are the guidelines about some of them:


Follow this example when citing a book:

  • [#] Author(s) Initial(s). Surname(s), Title of the Book, nth ed. City of the publishing company, (USA State, e.g.: Chicago, NewYork) or Country): Publisher, Year of Publication, pp. xx-xx.


When it comes to webpages, a simple URL of an HTML page will not be acceptable. You can use an online citation generator to tackle this daunting part. Here is an example that you can follow:

  • [#] Author(s) Initial(s). Surname(s), Title of the Webpage, Publisher or Production information, Abbrev. Month Day, Year of Publication. Accessed on: Abbrev. Month. Day, Year. [Type of medium]. Available: site/path or file.

Checklist for IEEE Citation Style

There are a lot of instructions, and it is not new that people forget some of them. So, to stay on the safe side, use a checklist next when done with the citations. You can not only fix citation-related mistakes but can proofread too. So, you are killing two birds with one stone. Check if:

  • You have used footnotes and endnotes.
  • The numbers of the citations match with corresponding references.
  • You have used in-text citations, then the in-text rules as per IEEE citation are followed or not;
  • Are the citations in their correct format or not;
  • You have double-checked the italics
  • You have double-checked the abbreviations used;
  • You have formatted the page margins, and line spacing as per IEEE citation style.
  • You have labeled the reference page with the correct heading;
  • You have used formal language, not tech or technology;
  • You have double-checked that the list of references includes covers every in-text citation to avoid the issue of plagiarism.

Now that you have gone through Burj-Khalifa like guidelines, you are fully capable of citing your document. Make sure to double-check your work, and never forget those page numbers!

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Angelina Grin

Creative Writer and Blog Editor

Despite my relatively young age, I am a professional writer with more than 14 years of experience. I studied journalism at the university, worked for media and digital agencies, and organized several events for ed-tech companies. Yet for the last 6 years, I've worked mainly in marketing. Here, at Studybay, my objective is to make sure all our texts are clear, informative, and engaging.

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