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References should be provided on a separate page at the end of your paper, with the title “References” at the top of the page. They should be listed and numbered in order of citation, not alphabetically. The numbers should be flush against the left margin, and separated from the body of the reference.

Some general notes on the format of references:

  • Authors are always referred to by their surname and initials. Suffixes such as “Jr.” or “III” are included, but separated by a comma – e.g. “E. C. M. Boyle, III”.
  • Any IEEE journals cited should be referred to by their official abbreviations, as listed by IEEE here.
  • For references with up to six authors, list all authors in the order they are presented in the publication’s byline. Use the format “A. B. Author, C. D. Author, and E. F. Author”.
  • For publications with seven or more authors, list the first author followed by “et al.”
  • Titles of books, journals, and publications of similar size are set in title case.
  • Titles of articles, technical reports, and publications of similar size are set in sentence case.
  • If you are unsure whether to use sentence case or title case, err on the side of following the original capitalization.
  • Names of months are shortened to 3-4 letters each: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.


The basic format for a book citation is as follows. As per usual, please note that any information not relevant to your citation should simply be left out – e.g., if there is only one edition of the book you are citing, don’t bother specifying “1st edition”.

[#]      Author,Title, volume, edition. City, State, Country: Publisher, year.
[1]      C.M. Millward, A Biography of the English Language, 2nd ed. Fort Worth, TX, USA: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1996.

If the book was accessed online, add “[Online]”, accompanied by the URL and date accessed, as follows:

[#]      Author, Title, volume, edition. City, State, Country: Publisher, year. [Online]. Available: URL. Accessed: month day, year.
[2]      P. H. Ditchfield, Old English Customs Extant at the Present Time. London, UK: George Redway, 1896. [Online]. Available: Accessed: July 1, 2019.

Translators and editors can be added after the title, identified by the abbreviations “Trans.” or “Ed.”

[#]      Author, Title, Translator, Trans., Editor, Ed., volume, edition. City, State, Country: Publisher, year.
[3]      J. Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, J. S. Stallybrass, Trans., vol. 2, 4th ed. London, UK: George Bell and Sons, 1900.
[4]      T. Malory, Le Morte Darthur, P. J. C. Field, Ed. Rochester, NY, USA: D. S. Brewer, 2017.

If the volume is titled separately from the overall work, you can add the title of the series after the title of the volume.

[#]      Author, Title, in Series, volume, edition. City, State, Country: Publisher, year.
[5]      J. G. Frazer, The Scapegoat, in The Golden Bough, vol. 9, 3rded. New York, NY, USA: The MacMillan Company, 1935.

To cite a specific chapter or section, add the title of the chapter/section before the book title, and include the chapter/section number and page range at the end. Use the abbreviations “ch.”, “sec.”, and “pp.”

[#]      Author, “Chapter,” in Title, volume, edition. City, State, Country: Publisher, year, chapter, section, page range.
[6]      G. Garrard, “Apocalypse,” in Ecocriticism, 2nded. New York, NY, USA: Routledge, 2012, ch. 5, pp. 93–116.


Citing an article from a journal or other periodical is largely the same as citing a chapter in a book, as above – the only major difference is that one does not need to include a publisher when citing a periodical. One should, however, remember to check for official abbreviated versions of a journal’s title, especially if they are IEEE journals. Also, do include a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) whenever one is available.

[#]      Author, “Title,” Journal, volume, number, page range, month year, DOI.
[7]      K. M. Bivens and K. Cole, “The grotesque protest in social media as embodied, political rhetoric,” Journal of Communication Inquiry, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 5-25, Jan. 2018, doi: 10.1177/0196859917735650.

Some periodicals use an “Article ID” rather than a DOI. In your reference list, treat this the same as a DOI, but label it “Art. no.” rather than “doi:”.

Any articles in another language should be presented with their title translated into the language of your paper, but with a parenthetical notation that they are, in fact, in another language so as to save your readers the trouble of tracking down an article only to find out they cannot read it.

[#]      Author, “Translated Title,” (in Language) Journal, volume, number, page range, month year, DOI.
[8]      A. Bammesberger, “The etymology of West Germanic *beur-a-,” (in German)  Sprachwissenschaft, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 229-231, 2000.

However, an article that was originally written in another language but translated by someone else should have the translation information in parentheses at the end of the entry. The format of said information will vary depending on where the translation was printed – it should be essentially written as an entire reference entry in itself, just without a number.

[#]      Author, “Translated Title,” Journal, volume, number, page range, month year, DOI. (Transl.: Translator, publication information)
[9]      N. Nihei, “Reconsideration of the problem of complicity between volunteer activities and neoliberalism,”Shakaigaku Hyoron, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 485-499, Sept. 2005, doi: 10.4057/jsr.56.485. (Transl.: Q. H. Dinh, International Journal of Japanese Sociology, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 112-124, Oct. 2010, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6781.2010.01124.x)


The citation format for a website is straightforward, provided you remember that, if any information is unavailable (e.g. if a website lists no author), you can simply leave that out of your citation. You should also be willing to clean up the titles of webpages and websites if necessary – e.g., some web sources will have their titles set in all caps, but you need not retain that capitalization in citations.

[#]      Author. “Page.” Website. URL (accessed month day, year).
[10]     G. Dvorsky. “NASA is officially sending an aerial drone to Titan and it's a dream come true.” Gizmodo. (accessed July 3, 2019).

Theses and Dissertations

The following guidelines apply to theses for bachelor’s or master’s degrees, as well as to PhD dissertations; these sources should, of course, only be used if there is not a formally-published version of the work, but often the only way to access certain information is through repository copies of dissertations.

Since they are not formally published, all publication information is replaced with information about the university department to which they were submitted. Note that names of departments and universities may be abbreviated wherever reasonable. It is also necessary to specify the distinction between a dissertation and a thesis. Where the template below has “document type”, you should not only specify one or the other, but also note the type of degree sought with said document – e.g. “B.S. thesis” or “PhD dissertation.”

[#]      Author, “Title,” document type, Department, University, City, State, Country, Year.
[11]      E. C. M. Boyle, III, “Barm, yeast, leaven, and the gesyfled loaf: an extended footnote to Juliana 396b,” M.A. thesis, Dept. English, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN, USA, 2017.

In addition to the usual rule about the “state” field being optional if the document is from outside the United States, you should also omit the “state” field if the name of the state is contained within the name of the university – there is no need to specify that, for instance, the University of Maryland is located in Maryland. You do, however, have to retain the “city” field.

Note that if you are accessing this thesis or dissertation in an online repository, you must also include the URL, but an access date is optional.

[#]      Author, “Title,” document type, Department, University, City, State, Country, Year. [Online]. Available: URL
[12]     R. N. Clarke, “A Search for lepton-flavor-violating decays of the 125 gev Higgs boson with hadronically decaying tau leptons in the 20.3 fb-1, √(s) = 8 TeV dataset collected in 2012 by the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider,” PhD dissertation, Dept. Phys., Univ. California, Berkeley, Berkeley, USA, 2016. [Online]. Available:

Conferences and Presentations

To cite a presentation given at an academic conference, you must cite the name of the conference as well as the location where it took place. You should also include the date(s) on which the conference occurred. If the paper being presented has a “Paper Number”, as given at some IEEE conferences, then you should include that at the end of the citation. Conference names should be abbreviated where feasible.

[#]      Author, “Title,” presented at the Conference, City, State, Country, Month days, year, paper number.
[13]     H. Tame, “Hell’s bells: visualizing the sound of hell in twelfth century sculpted portals,” presented at the 54th Int. Congr. on Medieval Stud., Kalamazoo, MI, USA,  May 9-12, 2019.

Citing conference proceedings follows the same rules as citing any other periodical, with two exceptions. First, if the proceedings list an editor, they should be included. Second, you should include the location of the conference if known to you. If the conference proceedings you are citing have separate volume and series titles, follow the guidelines for volume/series distinctions under the Books section.

Note that the date in this citation is the publication date given for the proceedings, not the time of the original conference.

[#]      Author, “Title”, in Conference Proceedings, Editor, Ed., City, State, Country, Month year, page range.
[14]     E. Rogers, “On the deposit of gold and silver coins in Wales”, in Cambrian Archaeological Assoc., 6thAnnu. Meeting, H. Jones and J. Williams, Ed., Ludlow, UK, Oct. 1852, pp. 312-15.

If the source is found online, include the URL or DOI as normal.

[#]      Author, “Title”, in Conference Proceedings, Editor, Ed., City, State, Country, Month year, page range. [Online]. Available: URL
[#]      Author, “Title”, in Conference Proceedings, Editor, Ed., City, State, Country, Month year, page range, DOI.
[15]     J. H. Huang and D. Powers, "Large scale experiments on correction of confused words," Proc. 24th Australian Comput. Sci. Conf. Gold Coast, Qld, Australia, 2001, pp. 77-82, doi: 10.1109/ACSC.2001.906626

You may also cite a lecture or presentation given elsewhere, but it is encouraged that you only do so if the content of said lecture or presentation is available somewhere for your readers to see for themselves – otherwise, it’s not much of a source. IEEE guidelines presume that either the lecture or the lecturer’s notes are available online, and the citation is formatted as such.

In the case of lecture notes, you must specify the medium or the type of file – e.g., “PowerPoint slides” or “Plain Text Document”. If the full lecture is online as a recording, then the “Medium” field should simply read “Online”.

[#]      Author. (Year). Title [Medium]. Available: URL
[16]     D. Armstrong. (2016). How the Black Death transformed the world [Online]. Available:

Technical Reports

To cite a technical report, you must cite not only the author and title, but the company, university, or other institution behind the report – such things are vitally important when citing information that has not been through the academic peer-review process. You should also cite the date and the report number.

Note that the name of the institution should be abbreviated where possible – e.g. “Corp.” rather than “Corporation”.  However, particularly when the institution in question is a university, you should try to include the name of the department or laboratory within the university responsible for the report – much like when citing a dissertation.

[#]      Author, “Title,” Institution, City, State, Country, report #, year.
[17]     J. M. Finnegan, R. Borges, and R. M. Wightman, “Comparison of cytosolic Ca2+ and exocytosis responses from single rat and bovine chromaffin cells,” Dept. Chem., Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, USA, Rep. ONR-TR-11, 1995.


When using raw data compiled by someone else, you must cite the distributor, a URL or DOI, and a date accessed. If there are different versions of the dataset, be sure to include the version number in the title.

[#]      Author, “Title.” (Month day, year). Distributed by Distributor. URL/DOI (accessed month day, year).
[18]     C. J. Brothers, J. Harianto, J. B. McClintock, and M. Byrne, “Data from: Sea urchins in a high-CO2 world: the influence of acclimation on the immune response to ocean warming and acidification.” (Aug. 3rd, 2016). Distributed by Dryad Digital Repository. doi: 10.5061/dryad.9hr7t (accessed July 4th, 2019).

If the original compilers of the dataset have published their own paper on their results, it is generally wise to read and cite that source as well.

Government Documents

Generally, this refers to laws, bills, or similar. Government reports would fall under the “Reports” section above. Note that variation in format may be necessary when citing from governments outside the USA.

[#]      Legislative body. Term, session. (Year, month day). Document number, Title. [Medium]. Available: URL, Path, or other method of locating document.
[19]     U. S. House. 116thCongress, 1stsession. (2019, Mar. 6). H. Res. 1572, Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act[Online]. Available:

Manuals and Handbooks

The citation format of a manual varies slightly depending on whether it is being accessed in print or online. If it is online, the format is dependent on whether it is credited to a single author or to the institution as whole. The variants are as follows:

[#]      Title, edition, Institution, City, State, Country, year, page range.
[20]    1996 Toyota Corolla Owner’s Manual, Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota, Aichi, Japan, 1995.
[#]      Author. Title, edition (year). Accessed: Month day, year. [Online]. Available: URL
[#]     Institution, City, State, Country. Title, edition (year). Accessed: Month day, year. [Online]. Available: URL
[21]    Genie Industries, Redmond, WA, USA. Genie Operator’s Manual with Maintenance Information, 3rd ed. (2006). Accessed: July 12, 2019. [Online]. Available:


In the event you need to cite a patent document, the format is straightforward. You want the author, the patent title, the patent number, and the date it was filed. Note that patent numbering is specific to the country in which they were filed, so it is necessary to include the country in the patent number.

[#]      Author, “Title”, Country Patent #, Month day, year.
[22]     F. J. Smith and D. J. Smith, “Method of concealing partial baldness”, US Patent 4 022 227, May 10, 1977.

Unpublished Materials

There are a few different situations in which an unpublished document might need to be cited. If you are working with a paper that has yet to be published, but is being unofficially circulated – a situation that is fairly common given the long wait times involved in official publication – you should cite it as a normal journal article, but replace the specific volume / date information with “to be published”.

[#]      Author, “Title,” Journal, to be published.

If the article has yet to even be accepted by a specific journal, replace all publication information with “submitted for publication”.

[#]      Author, “Title,” submitted for publication.

Perhaps you have access to a paper that is not even submitted for publication. In that case, it is simply cited as follows:

[#]      Author, “Title”, unpublished.

If the paper you want to cite is publicly available through an organization less official than a peer-reviewed journal, such as a paper repository or an open-access, non-peer-reviewed database, then you should specify where it can be found. This could be a URL, the name of a repository (include a paper number if available), or whatever other information seems necessary.

[#]      Author, “Title”, year, Location.
[23]     H. Price and K. Wharton, “A live alternative to quantum spooks,” 2015, arXiv:1510.06712.

Another common form of unpublished reference is a “private communication”. If you’ve spoken to an expert in the field, in person or otherwise, and received insights that have not yet been published, you may cite them as follows:

[#]      Author, private communication, month, year.

(Our example continues to use the term “author” out of convenience, even if the reference in question is not written down.)

[24]    S. F. D. Hughes, private communication, June, 2019.