About Harvard Referencing Style

A Comprehensive Guide to Harvard Referencing Style

While writing any academic document, you come across different ideas, thoughts, theories, stated by other people and you wish to include them in your own work. So when you use them in your assignment and mention the source, it is called citing. And listing these sources at the end of the whole write-up is known as reference listing or bibliography.

Importance of Referencing

When you prepare any paper, it is almost inevitable to not use any source of information. You go through blogs, articles, magazines, journals, books, online write-ups, etc. It makes your project more reliable and authentic. It also shows that you are well-read and have done enough research on your subject. However, if you fail to identify the original source that you have mentioned in your paper, it can be a serious offense. Whether it is a direct quote, theory, picture, paraphrase, video link, statistics, or graphs, it is important to state the complete name of the source. When you indicate your readers the origin of the information, it avoids plagiarism.

Plagiarism is copying or stealing other person’s work and presenting as your own. It is strictly not allowed in colleges and universities and each of them has their own guidelines regarding this.

What Is Harvard Referencing Style?

The Harvard System applies the author-date method, it means that in the text only the author and date are written in brackets and other complete details of the source are mentioned in the bibliography section attached with the assignment.

It has two parts:

1.In-text citation

In-text style is directly using a quote or phrase of another person. It comes in the main body of the document with a fragment of the full citation. It mainly includes authorship and the year of the work.


Cormack (1994, pp.32-33) states that "when writing for a professional readership, writers invariably make reference to already published works".

Harvard Referencing for Books with One Author:

The structure of a citation for books with one author is given below:

Last name, First Initial. (Year of publishment). Title. City: Publisher, Page(s).


Peterson, K. (2000). City ride. New York: Brand, Brown, pp.446-448.

Dahl, G. (2008). Charlie and the angels. 6th ed. London: Knopf, pp.446-448.

Citation Style for Books with Two or More Authors:

While putting a citation that has two or more authors in the list of references, it is crucial that you write the names in the order in which they are printed in the source. Also, they should be separated by the word ‘and’.

Last name, First initial. and Last name, First initial. (Year of  publishment). Title. City: Publisher, Page(s).


Desikanta, S. and Rameshwari, G. (2009). Soil testing. Bangalore, India: Kindersley, p.156.

Bress, Bob. (2001). L. Matson, ed., The Animals That We Hate, 1st ed. Boston: Jacob Ltd., pp. 79-92.

Tools for creating Harvard Book references:

2.Reference list

Bibliography or reference list enables the reader to trace the origin of the information. Different publications have their own pattern to list the source but the common elements that need to be included for each of them are authorship, year of publication and title. In Harvard style, there are set standards for the order and content of source. But some variations are acceptable as they are used consistently.

All the items should be mentioned in an alphabetical order by author or authorship, irrespective of the format, be it books, journal articles, or website. If more than one work is done by an author, then list all of them together according to the date of publication with the earliest work listed first.

As a general rule, following information should be mentioned in referencing list:
  • Author(s) or editor(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Title (book/journal/journal article/website)
  • Edition (only if there has been more than one edition)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
  • Page number (In case of direct quotation)
  • URL
  • Accessed Date

Ross, Neil. (2016). True Content and False formation in Scientific Theory. Philosophy Today, 79(2), pp. 69-290.

Referencing for Different Documents

  • Books with one author


Last name, First initial. (Year published). Title. Edition. (Only include the edition if it is not the first edition) City published: Publisher, Page(s).


Baron, D. P., 2008. Business and the organisation. Chester: Pearson.

Dahl, R. (2004). Charlie and the chocolate factory. 6th ed. New York: Knopf.

Points to remember:

  • The title of the book should be italicized.
  • City/town is always the place of publication and not the country i.e. Abu Dhabi not UAE.
  • The date of publication is the year and not a reprint date.
  • Other than 1st edition such as 2nd, 3rd, 6th etc., comes immediately after the title.
  • When quotes are used, “quotation marks” are put to distinguish a short quotation which is not more than 2 lines.
  • For longer quotations, separate paragraph is used without quotation marks.
Books with two authors

If referencing source has two or authors, then order of the names should appear same as the source. “And” is used to separate the names.


Last name, First initial. (Year published). Title. Edition. (Only include the edition if it is not the first edition) City published: Publisher, Page(s).


Reece, I. and Walker, S. (2007) Teaching, training & learning : a practical guide. 6th ed.London: Business Education Publishers Limited.

Books with more than two authors

In the text, last name of only the first author should be mentioned which is followed by et al. (which means ‘and others’). However, in the bibliography all the authors’ names must be listed.


Gross et al. (2001 p.26) believes that “violent behaviour can also be seen at the cinema or on video”.

In the bibliography:

Gross, R., McIlveen, R., Coolican, H., Clamp, A. and Russell, J. (2001) Psychology : a new introduction for A2. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

2.Journal Article


Author or editor of article (year) Title of article. Name of journal. Volume (part),page number(s).


Ross, N. (2015). On Truth Content and False Consciousness in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory. Philosophy Today. 59(2), pp. 269-290.

3.Newspaper Article


Author or editor of article (year) Title of article. Name of newspaper. Date, page number(s).


Bristow, T. (2011) Cycle ride to help street kids. Southport Visitor. 13 May, p.13.

4.Online journal


Author or editor of article (year) Title of article. Name of journal [online]. Volume (part number) ( if there are any – if not then use date). Available from: URL [Accessed Date].


Yar, M. (2011) From the 'Governance of Security' to 'Governance Failure’: refining the criminological agenda. Internet Journal of Criminology [online]. July.
Available from:
http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Yar_From_the_Governance_of_Security_to_Governance_Failure_April_2011.pdf [Accessed 3 June 2014].

Referencing Tools Vancouver Harvard APA

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