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IEEE Style Guide

Outline of the IEEE citation and reference style

Getting Started

The IEEE Computer Society Style Guide Committee's mission is to clarify the editorial styles and standards that the Society's publications use. We maintain and periodically update a style guide to clarify those usages not adequately defined in accepted external sources.

Our purpose is to promote coherence, consistency, and identity of style, making it easier for CS editors and our authors to produce quality submissions and publications that communicate clearly to all our readers.

This guide is intended to provide guidance to students on the use of the IEEE citation style. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' citation method is an internationally accepted format, most often used in technical fields.

About the IEEE Style

The IEEE style uses a single sequentially ordered note number to cite all references to each source mentioned in-text. This means that a citation is given in-text, consisting of a number enclosed by square brackets. A reference list or work cited page, displayed at the end of the paper provides full details of all references cited in-text. The references, in the work cited page, are ordered as they appear in the in-text references (in order of citation, not in alphabetical order). 

Note: When citing an item with three or more authors, note only the first author and use et al.

Note: The basic guideline for citing on-line sources is to follow the standard citation for the source given previously and add the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) at the end of the citation, or add the DOI in place of page numbers if the source is not paginated. The DOI for each IEEE conference article is assigned when the article is processed for inclusion in the IEEE Xplore digital library and is included with the reference data of the article in Xplore.


In-text references examples:

Using this system, references are numbered in the order in which they are first cited in the text. (If the same reference is cited later in the text, the same number is given).

"The theory was first put forward in 1987 [1]"

"G. O. Young [2] has argued that......."

"A recent studies [3] have suggested that..."


Reference list / works cited page example:

The complete reference / citation of the source is then provided in a works-cited list (organized in order of citation) at the end of your essay.

[1] D. Sarunyagate, Lasers, New York: McGraw Hill, 1996.

[2]  G. O. Young, "Synthetic structure of industrial plastics," in Plastics, 2nd ed., vol. 3, J. Peters, Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964, pp. 15-64.

[3]  M. N. DeMers, Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems, 3rd ed. New York: John Wiley, 2005.