Thursday, March 15, 2012

IEEE Referencing

Are you writing assignments at the moment? Do you need to know about referencing? Well here’s a quick guide to the IEEE Referencing System!

As students you will spend most of your time listening to information, theories and ideas that experts in your subject area have come up with over the years. You will be asked to write assignments and projects that include these ideas. Students are expected to use other authors’ ideas in their projects and assignments; but, when you do use another author’s idea you must reference (or cite) it.

We reference information in order to give credit to the author who came up with the idea. We do it to allow our readers to follow up on our sources of information. We do it because our assignment or project is an academic work and we must be able to backup what we say.

So, what kind of information do we need to reference?
  • Quotations: when we take the words of another writer, place them in inverted commas and copy them exactly into our own assignment – we must reference this
  • Paraphrasing: when we take the idea of another writer, write it in our own words and include it in our assignment – we must reference this
  • Graphs & diagrams: when we take a graph, an image or a diagram, from a print or online source, and include it in our assignment – we must reference this

How does referencing work?
The IEEE Referencing System is a two-step system.

Step 1: short citation
Where: within the text of the assignment or project
When: when you are writing your assignment, include a citation immediately after any reference to information you read in a book, a journal, a website or any published work
How: [number]

Example: there are two citations in this example – the information in the first sentence came from an online journal by Hannah and the information in the second sentence came from two books by Hibbeler and O'Donoghue

by Tom Ryan

In order to maintain equilibrium, a single force must be balanced by an “equal and opposite force acting along the same straight line” [1]. Therefore, forces exist in pairs.  In order for three forces to be in equilibrium they must be concurrent and all three must meet at a single point [2], [3].

Step 2: reference list
Where: at the end of the assignment or project
How: references look different depending on the source of the information; so a reference for information taken from a book looks different to a reference for information from a website or a DVD or a newspaper etc; this is because the reference acts as a map back to the source

Example: there are four references in this example – they are listed numerically in the order in which they appear in the text; this makes it easy to locate reference [1], [2] or [3], as necessary.

[1] J. Hannah, (2008, May).  "New standards in concurrency".  Journal of applied mechanics. [online]. 42 (6), pp. 22-24. Available: [12 Jan 2012].
[2] R.C. Hibbeler, Mechanics of materials, 7th ed. Singapore: Pearson, 2008, p.273 – 279.
[3] T. O’Donohue and P. West, Statics: an introduction. New York: O’Reilly, 2001, p. 54.
[4] P. James, “Investigating the use of high-speed applications among new computer users”, M.S. Thesis, University College Cork, Cork, 2007.

In order to write a reference (step 2), you will need:
  • The source of information, i.e. the book, journal, website etc.
  • The templates (in this leaflet– also available in print opposite the library desk)
For instance, if I am writing a reference for this book – I find the template for a “book”, on my leaflet, and follow it exactly:

The template looks like this:
Author first initial. Surname, Title: subtitle, Edition, Volume number.  Place of publication: Publisher name, year of publication, page number(s).

My reference looks like this:
G. Elliott, Global business information technology: an integrated systems.  Harlow, England: Addison-Wesley, 2011, p. 91-93.

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