Normally when writing technical reports, I just cite an article something like this:

In the case of binary classifications, the softmax activation function is not efficient [1].

But if something is so crucial for a large part of the entire report, it feels like I should mention the surname of the author who contributed greatly in the area I'm writing about. So, should I do this? If so, how do I write that an entire section is based on a book (actually a PhD thesis) written by some person?

Would it be correct to write like this:

Based on X [1], this section describes...,

where X is the surname of the author.

Or does it need to be written more clearly, like this:

Based on the PhD thesis by X [1], ...

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    "X proved that In the case of binary classifications, the softmax activation function is not efficient [1]."
    – JeffE
    May 17 '17 at 11:02
  • @JeffE yes, that is perhaps a better way of writing the sentence that I used as an example of how I normally cite articles. I edited my question, so hopefully it's easier to understand what I'm asking now. May 17 '17 at 11:10

You can mention the name, and then reference the thesis.

I would write something like...

Anderson [1] describes blah blah

Or something like that. But you don't have to mention the name so much as the concept or evidence, for example...

Incentive salience explains a system of hedonic processing which draws attention to rewarding stimuli based upon...etc [1]

*Incentive salience is theory developed by Robinson and Berridge, and is crucial to understanding hedonic processing. But I don't personally always refer to authors surnames in text. Appropriate citation to the references is more important. The writing style is up to you, but if you which to refer to a specific section you can add the page to the main text i.e.

Chapter 4 of Morpheus's thesis found the Matrix to be all around us [1, p.15].

I wouldn't personally write like this, but it is acceptable for an undergraduate project, and as a comment on my answer mentioned, some people prefer reading the reference name.

Please see the linked pdf for some rules regarding referencing in the IEEE style. I also found this answer on the writers stack regarding IEEE referencing of thesis material, which could be of some use.

Robinson, T. E., & Berridge, K. C. (2008). The incentive sensitization theory of addiction: some current issues. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1507), 3137–3146. http://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2008.0093

  • 1
    As a reader I always appreciate some hint in the text who might have written a given work. So: "As shown by A&B[1]..." is preferred to "As shown in [1]...", which gives me very little information without having to turn to the reference section. This can get tedious. May 18 '17 at 1:34
  • I agree, which is why I prefer the Harvard system. However if you are inclined to take a look at Nature Neuroscience, which uses IEEE, you will find that it isn't common practice to refer to a researchers surname. Really, I suppose it comes down to the subject and the writing style of the author in this case, as its not for publication.
    – Comte
    May 18 '17 at 14:19
  • @JeffE I'm not disputing that. I'm saying in when IEEE is used in journals the names are commonly in the references section rather than the main body. My apologies for the confusion.
    – Comte
    May 18 '17 at 14:52
  • Sorry, let me try again: Yes, you should mention the name in the text. The entire point of citations is to give credit to people. (The bibliography is there to help readers find their work.)
    – JeffE
    May 18 '17 at 21:04
  • 2
    @JeffE: "The entire point of citations is to give credit to people." - disagree. The point of citations is to connect statements in the document to bibliography items. Giving credit to people is, if anything, a positive side-effect. May 19 '17 at 6:21

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