When you write something excellent, you want to be sure that readers know that it’s yours. This is why citation is an important practice. It helps your readers understand which sources you’ve used and gives credit to other researcherswhile allowing readers to see which are your original ideas. In this module, you will learn how to cite your sources in IEEE style (the citation style used by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), and you will practice writing references. You will explore the use of a citation manager to help you to organize your sources and automatically generate in-text citations and reference lists to make citation quick and easy.

Modes of Learning

In this module, students will use the following modes of learning:

  • Videos and short assessments
  • An activity in which you practice creating references in IEEE style 

This module will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 

 Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, you will be able to…

  • Recognize the roles of citation in academic and technical writing
  • Apply IEEE style when creating in-text citations and reference lists
  • Use a citation manager such as Zotero to organize references and create in-text citations and reference lists

 Key Terms & Concepts

  • Citation
  • In-text citations
  • Reference list

Topic 1: Understanding Citation

This video is an introduction to citations. The video will cover what a citation is, the purpose of citations in academic environments, and information on when you need to cite.

Watch Understanding Citation in full screen.


Topic 2: IEEE Style

In the following video, you will be introduced to IEEE, which is a common citation style in technical fields such as engineering.

Watch IEEE Style in full screen.


Topic 3: Citation Management

The next video serves as the final video for this module, and it introduces you to citation management. Following the quiz, however, is another video about how to use a specific citation management tool called Zotero.

Watch Citation Management in full screen.


How to Use Zotero

This video is an overview of how to use the citation manager Zotero.

Watch How to Use Zotero in full screen.


In this module, you learned why it’s important to cite your sources and when you should cite a source. You also learned about IEEE citation style and how to create in-text citations and a reference list. Finally, you learned how to use the citation manager Zotero to streamline your citation work.   

Icon for references References

[1] Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. “Warning: When You Must Cite”. (accessed Oct. 25, 2021).


[2] University of Pittsburgh Library System. “IEEE Style”. (accessed Oct. 25, 2021).


[3] L. Homol, “Web-based Citation Management Tools: Comparing the Accuracy of Their Electronic Journal Citations,” The Journal of Academic Librarianship, vol. 40, no. 6, pp. 552–557, Nov. 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2014.09.011.


[4] Queens University Library. “Citing and Citation Managers”. (accessed Oct. 25, 2021).


[5] Golden Gate University. “What is a Citation Manager?” (accessed Oct. 25, 2021).

Icon for additional resources Additional Resources


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Engineering and Information: Research Skills for Engineers Copyright © by Katie Harding, Alanna Carter, Shelir Ebrahimi, and Eva Mueller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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