I was about to finish the LaTeX article for IEEE when I encountered an error in compiling the .bib file (called tacklingbib). This is part of the code for inserting bibliographic information


It was in the third stage of the process (1.pdfLaTex[successful], 2.BibTex[successful], 3. pdfLaTeX[error!]) that I received the following error:

Underfull \hbox (badness 10000) in paragraph at lines 973--974
! LaTeX Error: Something's wrong--perhaps a missing \item.
See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
l.24 \end{thebibliography}

I didn't use thebibliography, but I received its error! I deleted all the citations in the text unless the first one to see if there was any error in any of the citation commands. But the error repeated. This is the only cite in my .bib file:

    title = {Effects of interactivity and instructional scaffolding on learning: {Self}-regulation in online video-based environments},
    volume = {78},
    issn = {03601315},
    shorttitle = {Effects of interactivity and instructional scaffolding on learning},
    url = {https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0360131514001511},
    doi = {10.1016/j.compedu.2014.06.018},
    language = {en},
    urldate = {2023-02-13},
    journal = {Computers \& Education},
    author = {Delen, Erhan and Liew, Jeffrey and Willson, Victor},
    month = sep,
    year = {2014},
    pages = {312--320},

It has only 15 lines and I wonder where the error was pointing by l.24! I'd appreciated it if anyone can help.

  • 1
    In your code you haven't explicitly written a thebibliography environment, but when you ran BibTeX on your document, BibTeX generated it for you (following the style given in \bibliographystyle). This automatically generated thebibliography environment lives in the .bbl file and is read in by your document. The line number in the error refers to the .bbl file. You haven't given a full example, but the \_ in your entry key delen\_effects\_2014 will cause errors. You don't need to and should not escape underscores there. ...
    – moewe
    Feb 14 at 19:44
  • 1
    ... Make that read delen_effects_2014. Delete the .bbl and .aux files and try again.
    – moewe
    Feb 14 at 19:45
  • Welcome to TeX.SE. Can you confirm that the file \jobname.bbl -- where \jobname is the name of the main tex file -- contains just \begin{thebibliography} and \end{thebibliography} directives? You mention that the BibTeX run was "successful" -- what's in the file \jobname.blg?
    – Mico
    Feb 14 at 20:16
  • Dear moewe, I had to replace _ with _ (in the .bibtex file) to escape the error in the early stage of compilation for bibliography insertion. Removing it hinders the advancement of the process. Feb 15 at 7:42
  • Mico, I didn't use \begin{thebibliography} + \end{thebibliography}. Because the IEEE format recommended using either that environment OR \bibliography{} and I chose the second option. Feb 15 at 7:44


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