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IEEE referencing style: Introduction

Introduction to the IEEE referencing style

IEEE logoThe IEEE referencing style is a referencing style created and managed by the the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It consists of:

  1. In-text citations throughout a document, using numbers in [square brackets]
  2. A reference list at the end of the paper with details of each source mentioned in the text


If your source doesn’t match the examples in this guide:

The examples provided in this guide demonstrate ideal templates (ie; assuming you are able to locate all information about a source), for the most common types of documents. If your information source doesn't fit these templates, there are many more examples in the full IEEE Reference Guide:

IEEE Referencing Tips

Arrange the reference list in numerical order. The very first in-text reference in your document will be [1], the next [2]... continuing in order of appearance in your document.

In the reference list, list names of all authors, up to six names.  If there are more than six names listed, use the first author’s name followed by et al. 

Put a full stop (or "period") at the end of all references, unless they end with a URL.


If mentioning authors in the text of your document, place the in-text citation immediately after the author's name, eg; In their experiment, Liu [2] found that...

Use et al. when mentioning authors in the text if there are three or more authors, eg; The research of Jones et al. [3] demonstrates...

If citing a source that has already appeared earlier in the text, re-use the same number.


Provide page numbers for any in-text citations where you have quoted something directly, eg; “titanium alloys have also been used for surface modification with HA nanoparticles” [6, p. 148]. Page numbers are not needed if you are referring to an entire work or if you have paraphrased or summarised a long section of text. 


The IEEE style employs journal title abbreviations. For a list of IEEE journal title abbreviations see the IEEE Journal Titles and Reference Abbreviations document. See the 'IEEE - EndNote' tab of this guide for information about importing term lists into EndNote.

Need to use a different style?

Need to use another style, such as APA? Visit our other referencing guides.

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