IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

IEEE is a reference style guide that uses numbered references in square brackets. It is most often used in engineering and technical fields for stylistic consistency. The absence of in-text bibliographic information provides better flow and saves space.

This guide explains how to cite common sources using IEEE. For information on the citation format for sources not covered in this guide, refer to the IEEE website.

Documenting Sources

Sources must be documented in two places: in in-text square bracket citations and in a reference list.

Two puzzle pieces, labelled "in-text square bracket citations" and "reference list" form a complete IEEE citation together.

In-text Citations

In-text citations direct readers to the specific sources you used. Insert a citation when you use a direct quote or paraphrase information from another source. Each source is assigned a reference number based on the order in which it appears in your paper. For example, the first source you use is [1], the second source you use is [2], and the third source you use is [3].

To retain your writing flow, place citations at a natural pause as close as possible to the information being cited, and directly before the punctuation that concludes the sentence or clause.

Sample Citation

Several major health organizations have approved GMOs for human consumption [1], [2], [3]. After a recent metastudy was completed [3], the European Union also began a process to regulate the production of GMOs [4].

In-text Citation Formatting for Different Kinds of Sources

General Format

Assign a number to each source based on the order in which they appear in your work. This number will correspond with this specific source for the duration of your paper. When referring to the source specifically, such as in a literature review, refer to it by the citation number only.

e.g., Many birds migrate in the winter [6].
e.g., The basis for this experiment was established in

Citing Multiple Sources at Once

List each source individually in square brackets separated by commas. Note that you do not need to place an “and” before the last citation.

e.g., As has been noted by scholars [2], [6], [18], [20], nanotechnology is a complex field.

Specific Parts of a Source

In most cases, in-text citations will only include the assigned number of the work being cited. However, when including a direct quote or referring to a specific part of the text, include a comma followed by the page number, chapter number, or section number after the reference number.

e.g., Higher temperatures resulted in increased colonization [3, 54].

Reference List Formatting for Different Kinds of Sources

The reference list itemizes all material you cited in your text. Sources are listed numerically in the order they appear in your text. Place this separate section, titled “References,” at the very end of your text.

Sources that you consulted, but did not cite, are not included in this list.

References are arranged numerically using the number you assigned. Each reference begins with this number. Abbreviated versions of company names, months, periodical titles, and provinces are required.


Type Citation Corresponding reference list entry
One Author

Format: (Last name Publication year, Page number)

Example: (Hawkins 2012, 12)

Last name, First name. Publication year. Title. City: Publisher.

Hawkins, Ty. 2012. Reading Vietnam Amid the War on Terror. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Multiple Authors

Format: (Last name and Last name Publication year, Page number)

Example: (Parker and Pollock 2013, 34)

Last name, First name and Last Name, First name. Publication year. Title. City: Publisher. 

Parker, Roziska and Griselda, Pollock. 2013. Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology. New York: I.B. Tauris.

If a book has three or more authors, use the first author’s name and et al.

Sections within an edited collection

Format: (Last name Publication year, Page number)

Example: (Salahub 2012, 157)

Last name, First name. Publication year. "Title of Section." In Title of Book, edited by First name Last name, page range of section. City: Publisher.

Salahub, Jennifer. 2012. “Hannah Maynard: Crafting Professional Identity.” In Rethinking Professionalism Women and Art in Canada, 1850-1970, edited by Kristina Huneault and Janice Anderson, 135-67. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Web Sources

Type Citation Corresponding reference list entry
Webpage with known Author and Date

(Last name, Year)

(Wilson, 2016)

Last name, First name. Year. "Webpage Title." Publisher or Website Name. Last modified date. URL.

Wilson, J. 2016. “Journey to Mars.” NASA. Last modified April 20.

Webpage with Unknown Author and Date

(“Webpage Title” Year)

(“Dogs of Canada” 2016)

Publisher or Website Name. Year. “Webpage Title.” Accessed date. URL.

Canadian Dog Association. 2016. “Dogs of Canada.” Accessed March 12.

Periodicals or Journal Articles

Printed Periodicals or Journal Articles

[Reference number] Initials. Last name, Title of Paper, Abbreviated Title of Periodical, vol. number, issue number, pp. page range, Abbreviated month year.

[20] P. Dias, The Disciplines of Engineering and History: Some Common Ground, Technol. Soc. Mag., vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 539549, Jun. 2014.

All IEEE periodicals have an abbreviated title. See the IEEE citation reference manual for a complete list of these abbreviations.

Electronic Periodicals or Journal Articles

[Reference number] Initials. Last name, Title of paper, Abbreviated Title of Periodical, vol. number, issue number, pp. page range, Abbreviated month year. [Online]. Available: URL.DOI.

[12] D. K. Gattie et al, Engineering Education as a Complex System, European J. Eng. Educ., vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 521535, Dec. 2011. [Online]. Available: Academic OneFile, DOI: 10.1000/182

Handbooks or Manuals

[Reference number] Title of Manual/Handbook # ed., Initial. Last name. Abbreviated Name of Company, City of company, Year of publication, pp. page range.

[2] CMOS Sensor Design, 4th ed., J. Lee. Kodak Co., New York, 2010, pp. 62-96.

Technical Reports

[Reference number] Initials. Last name, Title of report, Abbreviated Name of Company, City of company, Abbreviated province or state, Report type, Month day, Year of publication.

[12] R. Lee and C. Wilson, Calibration program for the underwater sensor, Elect. Eng. Res. Lab., Trent Univ., Peterborough, ON, Tech. Memo. NGL-003-91-2, Aug. 15, 1985.


[Reference number] Initials. Last name, Title of patent, Country of origin patent number, Month day, Year.

15] A.W. Davis, Image stabilizer, Canadian Patent 8,563,912, March 17, 1991.

Conference Articles

[Reference number] Initials. Last name, Title of Paper, in Unabbreviated Name of Conference, City of conference, Abbreviated province or state, Year, range.

[7] R.S. Ali, Satellite Sensor Systems, in Science in Space. Toronto, ON, 2010, pp. 6-18.

All IEEE conference articles use standard abbreviations. Some samples are listed below. For a complete list, see the IEEE website.

  • Annals Ann.
  • Annual Annu.
  • Colloquium Colloq.
  • Conference Conf.
  • Congress Congr.
  • Convention Conv.
  • Digest Dig.
  • Exposition Expo.
  • International Int.
  • National Nat.
  • Proceedings Proc.
  • Record Rec.
  • Symposium Symp.
  • Technical Digest Tech. Dig.
  • Technical Paper Tech. Paper
  • First 1st
  • Second 2nd
  • Third 3rd
  • Fourth/nth ... 4th/nth ...

Write out all the remaining words, but omit most articles and prepositions like of, the, and on.

Before abbreviation:

  • e.g., Proceedings of the 1996 Robotics and Automation Conference

After abbreviation:

  • e.g., Proc. 1996 Robotics and Automation Conf.

Sample IEEE Works Cited

View a sample works cited list (PDF).