Electrical Engineering

Resources for research and course work in electrical engineering and micro electronics and photonics (microEP) at the University of Arkansas

Citing Right

The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering often suggest that students follow the IEEE (Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers) format.

IEEE is a society of societies. Different publications practices exist and different style manual are available. Some are listed below.

Some of these resources state that, when information is not included, the writer should consult the Chicago Manual of Style. The library has provided access to the electronic version of this tool, however, IEEE style requirement may diverge from this resource. When these two sources are in conflict, IEEE requirements are the appropriate choice.

Several other style guides are available if you search the IEEE site. Some are for specific journals. Some are for specific conferences. Remember, IEEE is a membership society that is made up of many distinct groups. IEEE also publishes materials for other organizations. Some IEEE conferences are simply hosted by IEEE but organized by other groups. So you will find CONFLICTING information.

Citations from IEEE Explore -- words of Caution

IEEE uses an inverted title on the IEEE Explore platform to improve browsing of its extensive list of journals and conferences. IEEE title example




Unfortunately, IEEE does not correct the title when it provides the information needed to create reference.


Use INSPEC to download the correct elements for a accurate reference.

More Citation Assistance

Most databases provided by the libraries have a "Cite" feature built in. Look for a link or button for citing. If the link is available, you will see a screen which provides a citation in your preferred format that you can cut and paste into your bibliography.

Many electronic resources offer citation creators and there are some that are freely available on the web. Feel free to use the links below at your convenience.

However, make sure you carefully edit the results before you paste them into your bibliography, citation creators are not always perfect. Automatic citation generation is only as good as the details made available from the database.

What Is Common Knowledge?

"Common knowledge" -- you don't need to cite where you found "common knowledge". But what is "common knowledge"? Guess what -- it varies. Here is a safe definition, because you don't want to be accused of plagiarism.

Did you know it without looking it up?  If you are just learning about your field, you should err on the side of caution. Better to cite something that didn't need a citation, then to be accused of plagiarism.

Would other people in the class know this?  Common knowledge is based, to some extent, on what the "general practitioner" in the field would know. And what would be general knowledge for a practicing electrical engineer MAY NOT be common knowledge for a freshman engineering student.

Do you find the information in many PUBLISHED (not web pages) resources? Some experts say if you find it in 3 reference tools, no need to cite. Others say 5. If you don't have time to check that the information has been used in many different places, cite it. Play it safe. The citation can be easily removed later and until the paper is in it's final version, you will know where to go back and verify the information.

  • Example 1:  Water boils at 100 °C. (I looked it up to make sure I was right. Still it is common knowledge and I will not cite my source.)
  • Example 2:  The melting point of acacetin is 263 °C. (For an organic chemist, this might be common knowledge. For me it is not. I would cite it for two reasons. First, I had to go find it. Second, I want to show the reader it is valid number.)
  • Example 3: Nixon resigned from the US Presidency. (Common knowledge)
  • Example 4: Nixon resigned from the US Presidency at the urging of ....... (Not so common knowledge, I would cite where I found that information.)