Citations and References

What are citations and references (also called 'documentation')? Why bother doing them? When to you need them? How do you do them? Here is some information to help answer these questions.

What are citations?

As you write your FYP report, it is important to cite (give credit to) your information sources throughout your report. Here are two examples:

Note that citations go inside the punctuation.

What is a reference list?

Your reference list (also called a "list of works cited") comes after the body of your report and contains a complete list of all the sources (web pages, datasets, conference proceedings, journals, articles, books, dissertations, etc.) that you have cited directly in your report. A reference list is different from a bibliography, which contains all sources used in writing a document, whether they are directly cited or not. Do not make a bibliography! Here are two examples that correspond to the citations above:

  [1]  M. Elgan. "Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system." Fast Company. (accessed 10 Sept. 2019).
  [2]  The Government of Hong Kong. "Wi-Fi.HK" (accessed 15 Sept. 2021).

Here is a sample IEEE-style reference list sorted by order of occurrence:

5. References

[1] Google. "Google Maps." (accessed 3 Sept. 2019).
[2] Google. "Android." (accessed 3 Sept. 2019).
[3] I.E. Sutherland, R.F. Sproull, and R.A. Schumaker, "A Characterization of Ten Hidden-Surface Algorithms," ACM Computing Surveys, vol. 6, no. 1, 1974, pp. 1-55.
[4] M. Watson. "Artificial Intelligence Blog." (accessed 3 Sept. 2021).
[5] M. Sahami. "About the Google Education Summit." (accessed 3 Sept. 2019).
[6] W.M. Newman and R.F. Sproull. Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics. New York, NT, USA: McGraw-Hill, 1979, p. 402.
[8] B. Fagin, "A Parallel Execution Model for Prolog," Ph.D dissertation, Dept. Computer Sciences, Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1987.
[9] M. Nichols, "The Graphical Kernel System in Prolog," M.S. thesis, Dept. Computer Science and Eng., Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., 1985.
[10] D. Kornack and P. Rakic, "Cell Proliferation without Neurogenesis in Adult Primate Neocortex," Science; doi:10.1126/science.1065467.
[11] H. Goto, Y. Hasegawa, and M. Tanaka, "Efficient Scheduling Focusing on the Duality of MPL Representation," in Proc. IEEE Symp. Comput. Intell. in Scheduling 2007, doi:10.1109/SCIS.2007.367670.
[12] R. Bartle. "Early MUD History." (accessed 3 Sept. 2021).

When should I use a citation?

You must provide citations in the text for the following:

Why should I include citations and references in my paper?

  1. They are required by the HKUST CSE Dept. in all FYP / FYT proposals, progress reports and final reports.
  2. You have a duty to the traditions of scholarship and good science to include them in your report. Otherwise, your team will look like a bunch of amateurs, and your work will be discredited.
  3. They add value to your paper and make you look knowledgeable. They give your ideas authority by providing evidence.
  4. To omit them is plagiarism (抄襲;剽竊)- the academic equivalent to robbery!

Which reference style should I use?

Almost all HKUST CSE professors will accept the IEEE reference style, and it is now very popular in the computer science field.

In what order should references be sorted?

Some FYP advisors prefer that references are sorted in their order of occurrence, while others prefer sorting by author surname. (See Advisor Preferences.)

What about Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a great tool for quick learning and finding references, but try not to use it for references on your FYP or FYT reports. Instead, use it to FIND good references.

Wikipedia is the combined work of millions of experts on millions of subjects, and it's free and usually accurate. However, its work is often not closely reviewed by experts, so the chances of a wiki page containing inaccuracies are much higher than the chances of a peer reviewed paper containing inaccuracies.

Thus, when you write your FYP or FYT reports, use Wikipedia at the beginning to gain a general understanding of your topic and of possible related concepts, algorithms, design ideas and programming tools or techniques. Of course, also study any academic papers recommended by your advisor. Then, when you write your report, first cite references to the papers (if they are useful, especially in your introduction.) Next, if you want to use an idea from a wiki page, you can usually look at the footnotes to find at least one or two good references. Just be sure to do two things:

  1. Actually spend time to click on the wiki page footnote links and find the best paper or article or website to be your reference (rather than the wiki), and
  2. Be sure to use the latest IEEE reference style. This may take a little work to get it just right, since many footnotes do not exactly follow IEEE reference style.

In the rare event that a wiki page provides no suitable footnotes, just ask your advisor, a TA or your communication tutor.

One more benefit of Wikipedia: In today's world, more and more non-native English speaking people are writing good peer reviewed academic papers, but this can often result in some non-standard grammar, spelling and word choice. On the other hand, Wikipedia is a collaborative project that allows native English speakers to modify wiki page content as well as the English grammar, spelling and word choice. Thus, for your reports, it is generally smart to favor the English grammar, spelling and word choice of Wikipedia over that of non-native English speaking writers.



Copyright HKUST CSE Dept. 2023
Blog template built for Bootstrap by @mdo.
Back to top