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Referencing style - IEEE: 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

What if your source doesn’t match the examples provided 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. However, if your information source doesn't fit these templates, there are many more examples in the full IEEE Reference Guide.

The IEEE style uses abbreviated journal titles. Instructions on using abbreviated titles in EndNote can be found here. IEEE is primarily used for IEEE published titles and a list of all titles is available for download here: IEEE Journals and Abbreviations List.

More information in relation to this, is provided here (Please note: you will be directed to the EndNote tab in this Guide).

Further details about using IEEE style can also be located in:

IEEE Editorial Style Manual for Authors

Preparation of Papers for IEEE TRANSACTIONS and JOURNALS

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]. Please note: 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 and the IEEE Magazine Titles and Abbreviations list. 

You can also use the CAS Source Index (CASSI) Tool in some instances to generate the appropriate abbreviation for the journal you are referencing if it falls outside the sphere of IEEE publications. Another location to check is Ulrichsweb global serials directory which may list the official abbreviation for the journal title. If you are unable to locate the abbreviated name of a journal title spell out the name of the journal title in full.

Also, see here on the 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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