IEEE citations - how this unique format differs from the common APA, MLA, and Harvard formats used in college

Writing an academic paper or college essay has never been an easy task, as it consists of different guidelines that you have to follow. Most of the students make the common mistake of not following the proper guidelines due to which they lose their marks. Before you start writing a research paper, you should know what it is. A research paper is written by scientists, scholars, and professionals who are fully associated with the research. Keep in mind! Citing sources properly is very important to avoid plagiarism and to know from where the ideas have come from. For a high-quality research paper, it is important to add citations properly throughout your research paper and compile the reference list at the end. There are different citation styles. This guide will demonstrate a difference in MLA, APA, and IEEE citation.

In-Text Citations

IEEE provides guidelines for authors for each publication type such as newsletter, magazines, and journals. IEEE has a simple form of in-text citation in which the number is just placed in the square brackets. This number corresponds to the referenced number in the footnotes. For example: [1] in their appearance order within the work. In the IEEE citation, it is not important to mention the publication date, author's name in the in-text citations. In the case of multiple sources in one place, it is preferred to separately use each number in separate brackets such as [1], [2], [6], or [1] – [6]. For example: “According to different studies [2], [5], [8] the prevalence of anxiety is……”. Whereas in Harvard referencing style, it is important to add the name of authors and publication date in the text. Secondly, references are placed in alphabetically order rather than their appearance in the text. APA in-text citation contains the last name of author and year of publication. If you are paraphrasing a specific passage, then page number is also added. In MLA in-text citations, an essay writer has to add the author's last name and the page number.

Reference List

This includes the list of full references about the cited sources and added at the end of the paper. In all three styles, the source entries formatting is also different. In IEEE, the list is numbered and follows the same order as an in-text citation. For example, according to their order of presentation and not in alphabetical order. Once the source has been cited in the text, the same number is then used in subsequent references. In both MLA and APA style, you must add complete details of all cited sources at the end of your paper and on a separate page. In MLA, this page is known as the work cited whereas in APA it is known as the reference list.


A citation is defined as a way to give credit to people for their intellectual and creative work that has been used by you to support your research. Citation helps to prevent plagiarism by acknowledging the work of other authors.

Difference between IEEE, APA, and MLA based on Academic Field

The proper use of citation style makes it very easy for your readers to comprehend a text that comes from different sources. Sticking to a citation guideline, allows your readers to fully focus on the information without any kind of distraction due to the wrong formatting style. The citation style usually depends on the academic field of a student. The citation style that has to be used by you also depends on your instructor. It is best to check with your university guidelines or instructors to know which style you should use.

For example, the MLA citation style is used by the students of the humanities. APA style is used by the students of psychology and education. The IEEE referencing and citing style is used widely in Computing, Electronics, and Electrical publications.

How to use quotes in APA, MLA, and IEEE?

Direct quotes are mainly used to support an argument by demonstrating the exact phrase and words of an author. Enclose quotes of an author in double quotation marks and insert citation in a square bracket. For example, Taylor et al. have stated that “Acetaminophen is safe to be used in COVID 19 patients” [8, p.15]. If you don’t want to add unnecessary information from the quotation, then you can use a set of dots (……). This is known as ellipsis and demonstrates a break in quotes. For example: As seen in [6, p.15], “the proposed circuit has shown to enhance the signal attenuation ……… and experiencing poor performance degradation because of variation in resistor”. In APA direct quotation include the name of author, publication year, and the page number. In the MLA citation style, the in-text citation includes the author's last name followed by a page number that is enclosed in parenthesis. If the name of the author is not given, then you can use the first words of the title.

Page Format in IEEE, APA, and MLA

There is also a difference in the formatting of the page. In IEEE, references are placed flush left, and all entries are single-spaced. Place the entry number at the left margin and enclosed them in brackets. Indent all entries text. For both MLA and APA, you use double spacing throughout the paper, 1-inch margin, and 12 font size. If you are having any difficulty, then you can take help from your professor. Keep in mind! Always check the instructions before starting your paper. You can also get your paper checked from an expert essay writing service at budget-friendly rates.

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