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Information Literacy Skills for Research (Engineering): Citation Styles


There are many citation styles available, depending on the academic discipline involved. Some commonly used citation styles include APA, Chicago, Harvard and IEEE.  

Check with your supervisors, professors, departments, faculty, conference organizers or publishers to find out their preferred citation style.

To learn more about the major citation styles, refer to Citation Styles Guide.

6 Key Rules to IEEE Citation Style

Citation Styles

FOE Office of Graduate Programmes Guidelines

Some guidelines on references are given in the Handbook for Research Students (M.Eng./Ph.D.) provided by the Engineering Graduate Office. You may want to check with your supervisor/department for their preferred citation styles as well.

In-text Citation & Bibliography

You cite the references you used by inserting:

  • In-text citation :: this appears within a sentence, e.g. author-date, numbered and footnotes
  • Bibliography/references :: this appears at the end of the document

Depending on the information sources (e.g. books, books chapters, articles, conference papers, theses, patents, Internet resources) and citation style you use, the format and elements of the in-text citation and bibliography would vary.

Some main elements of a citation are:

  • Author(s)
  • Book Chapter Title or Journal Article Title
  • Book Title or Journal Title
  • Year of Publication
  • Volume or Issue Numbering
  • Page Numbering

Citing or acknowledging information sources used is not limited to writing only.  It applies to outputs in all formats, e.g. presentations, posters, video clips.

As mentioned, there are various commonly used citation styles, e.g. APA, Chicago, Harvard and IEEE. The formatting used in each style is slightly different. The example below illustrates how this particular journal article would be listed in the references section for each citation style.

  Authors   Russell Paul Cowburn, Dennis K. Koltsov, Adekunle Olusola Adeyeye, Mark E. Welland, David M. Tricker
  Date   August 1999
  Title   Single-domain circular nanomagnets
  Journal   Physical Review Letters
  Specifics     Volume: 83; Number: 5; Pages: 1024-1045


Cowburn, R. P., Koltsov, D. K., Adeyeye, A. O., Welland, M. E., & Tricker, D. M. (1999). Single-Domain Circular Nanomagnets. Physical Review Letters, 83(5), 1042–1045.


Cowburn, R P, D K Koltsov, A O Adeyeye, M E Welland, and D M Tricker. 1999. “Single-Domain Circular Nanomagnets.” Physical Review Letters 83 (5). American Physical Society: 1042–45.


Cowburn, R. P., Koltsov, D. K., Adeyeye, A. O., Welland, M. E. and Tricker, D. M. (1999) ‘Single-Domain Circular Nanomagnets’, Physical Review Letters. American Physical Society, 83(5), pp. 1042–1045.


[1] R. P. Cowburn, D. K. Koltsov, A. O. Adeyeye, M. E. Welland, and D. M. Tricker, “Single-Domain Circular Nanomagnets,” Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 83, no. 5, pp. 1042–1045, Aug. 1999.

To learn how to cite using IEEE Citation Style, refer to the reference guide available on the Citation Styles Guide > IEEE tab.

To understand the components of a citation, refer to the "Citation Styles" tab.

To view the common citation mistakes made and avoid making them, refer to the "Common IEEE Citation Mistakes" tab.

Below are some examples of information sources cited using IEEE citation style:


[1]  B. Klaus and P. Horn, Robot Vision. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 1986.

Book Chapters

[2]  L. Stein, “Random patterns,” in Computers and You, J. S. Brake, Ed. New York, NY, USA:Wiley, 1994, pp. 55-70.

Journals Articles / Periodicals


[3]  G. E. Hinton, S. Osindero and Y. W. Teh, "A fast learning algorithm for deep belief nets," Neural Comput., vol. 18, No. 7, pp. 1527-1554, Jul. 2006.


[5]  W. P. Risk, G. S. Kino, and H. J. Shaw, "Fiber-optic frequency shifter using a surface acoustic wave incident at an oblique angle," Opt. Lett., vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 115-117, Feb. 1986 [Online]. Available:

(with DOI)

[6]  A. Thean and J.-P. Leburton, “Flash memory: towards single electronics,” IEEE Potentials, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 35-40, 2002, doi: 10.1109/MP.2002.1044216.


Conference Proceedings (Online)

[6]  X. Chen and K. Zhang, "Extending blockchain functionality with statechain," in 2017 IEEE 23rd Int. Conf. Parallel and Distrib. Syst., Shen Zhen, China Dec. 2017, pp. 240-247. [Online]. Available from IEEE Xplore Digital Library.


Conference Papers 


[7]  V. Chandrasekaran, S. Sanghavi, P. A. Parrilo, and A. S. Willsky. (2009). Sparse and low-rank matrix decompositions. Presented at IFAC 2009. [Online]. Available:

(Paper presented at a Conference)

[7]  J. Arrillaga and B. Giessner, "Limitation of short-circuit levels by means of HDVC," presented at the IEEE Summer Power Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, USA, Jul. 12-17, 1990, Paper 70 CP637.


Magazines Articles

[8]  S. Fujii and Y. Mikami. (1991, Apr. 20). Construction aspects of intelligent buildings. IEEE Commun. Mag. [CD-ROM]. pp.50-57. Available: UMI File: IPO (IEEE/IEE Publications Ondisc) Item: 3939837

Technical Reports

[9]  P. Diament, S. L. Richert, and W. L. Lupatkin, “V-line surface-wave radiation and scanning,” Dept. Elect. Eng., Columbia Univ., New York, Sci. Rep. 85, Aug. 1991.

Patents (Online)

[10]  Screwless clip mounted computer drive, by D. Williams. (2005, Apr. 26). U.S. Patent 6,885,550 [Online]. Available:     



[11]  Letter Symbols for Quantities, ANSI Standard Y10.5-1968.

[12] Sustainable Data Centres - Part 1: Energy and Environmental Management Systems, SS 564-1, 2020. [Online]. Available:

[13] Secondary Lithium Batteries for Light EV (Electric Vehicle) Applications. General Safety Requirements and Test Methods, BS EN 50604-1, 2016. [Online]. Available:



[14]  J. O. Williams, “Narrow-band analyzer,” Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. Elect. Eng., Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA, 1993.



[15]  P. Norman, “U.S. unleashes military to fight fake news, disinformation.", (accessed Sep. 2, 2019). 

Tracing incomplete or incorrect citations waste the reader’s time and effort.  The following are some common errors made in IEEE citation style when citing journal articles and conference papers:

Multiple Authors and Format

1. Cite author name using the format [Initials] [Family Name].

  Authors   Xin Kang; Ying-Chang Liang; Arumugam Nallanathan; Hari Krishna Garg; Peter J. Smith; Tuck Sing Terence Siew
  Incorrectly cited as    Kang, X., Liang, Y. C., Nallanathan, A., Garg H.K., Smith, P. J. and Terence Siew, T. S.
  Correctly cited as   X. Kang, Y. C. Liang, A. Nallanathan, H. K. Garg, P. J. Smith and T. S. T. Siew.


2. For more than 6 authors, use et al.

  Authors   BaoYu Zong; YuPing Wu ; Pin Ho ; Nguyen Nguyen Phuoc ; Yong Yang ; ZaiBing Guo ; Shan Zheng Ang ; ZhiHong Yang ; ZhengWen Li 
  Incorrectly cited as    B. Zong, Y. Wu, P. Ho, N. N. Phuoc, Y. Yang, Z. Guo, S. Z. Ang, Z. Yang and Z. Li.
  Correctly cited as   B. Zong et al.


3. The article title should be enclosed within quotes “” and there is a comma before the closed quote ”.


[24] L. Liu, R. Zhang and K. C. Chua, "Wireless information transfer with opportunistic energy harvesting," IEEE Trans. Wireless Commun., vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 288-300, Jan. 2013.

4. Take note of punctuation and symbols used for volume, issue, page numbering, month as well as the final full stop, i.e. 

vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Abbrev. Month, year.


[25] H . Eriksson and P. E. Danielsson, “Two problems on Boolean memories,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Devicesvol. EC-16, no. 3, pp. 364–365, Jun. 1967.

[26] P. Dely, A. Kassler and N. Bayer, "OpenFlow for wireless mesh networks," Proc. 20th Int. Conf. Comput. Commun. Networks, 2011, pp. 1-6.

Take note of the position of the year and absence of page numbering for citing (unpublished) papers presented at conferences.


5. Create a hanging indent for each reference with the bracketed numbers flush with the left side of the page. The hanging indent highlights the numerical sequence of your references.


[27] S. Azodolmolky et al., "Experimental demonstration of an impairment aware network planning and operation tool
=> for transparent/translucent optical networks,” J. Lightw. Technol., vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 439–448, Sep. 2011. 

Capitalization of Article Title and Journal Title

6. Capitalize only the first word of the title of an article, paper or book chapter


Parametric oscillators and nonlinear materials,”

7. Capitalize and italicize the (major) word in the title of a book, journal or conference proceedings. Abbreviate journal and conference proceedings.

Example 1

Super-Resolution Restoration and Image Reconstruction for Passive Millimeter Wave Imaging

Example 2

Proc. 20th Int. Conf. Comput. Commun. Networks