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Harvard

When writers use outside sources to inform their work, they need to give those sources credit. Giving credit to original sources is called referencing. Referencing ensures that writers' do honest, organized work. Writers cannot just reference in any format they want, they have to follow a specific formatting guide, so their readers can easily understand their research process. 

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When writers use outside sources to inform their work, they need to give those sources credit. Giving credit to original sources is called referencing. Referencing ensures that writers' do honest, organized work. Writers cannot just reference in any format they want, they have to follow a specific formatting guide, so their readers can easily understand their research process.

There are several formatting guides for citations, including MLA, commonly used in the humanities, and APA, commonly used in the behavioral and social sciences. Another popular formatting guide is Harvard, which scholars across many fields of academia use.

Harvard University

Harvard University is a private post-secondary institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is one of eight high-ranking research universities in the United States in a group called the Ivy League. In the late nineteenth century, a professor of Zoology at Harvard used a new style of parenthetical referencing to cite sources. That style became known as the Harvard style.

Parenthetical referencing is a style of citing sources in which citations are put in parentheses within a text.

Like other citation styles, the Harvard style is subject to change periodically. Writers should always check to follow the most recent formatting guidelines.

Harvard, Harvard University, StudySmarterHarvard style originated at Harvard University, pixabay.

Harvard Citation Style

Harvard citation style requires writers to include in-text citations and a reference sheet at the end of their paper. It also requires writers to format their paper with the following elements:

  • 12 point font

  • Double-spacing

  • 1-inch margins on all sides

  • Centered title

  • Left-aligned text

Importance of Citations

Writers have to cite their sources to avoid plagiarism, the act of passing off another's work as one's own. Plagiarism can have many consequences for writers, including suspension, expulsion, failure, and loss of academic credibility. Citing sources is also important because it helps readers identify related works for further research and helps writers keep track of their research.

Plagiarism is stealing another's work and pretending it is one's own.

Harvard Referencing Style

The Harvard referencing style requires writers to include a reference list at the end of a document. A reference list notes all of the sources a writer used in alphabetical order by author's name. The following chart demonstrates how to cite various types of scholarly sources according to the Harvard Style.

Type of SourceFormatExample

Book

Author's last name, initials. (Publication year). Title. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher.

Smith, E. (2018). The art of citation. 2nd edn. New York: Cliffords Publishing.

Journal Article

Author's last name, initials. (Year) 'Title of article', Title of Journal, volume (issue), p. DOI

Baker, S. (2014) 'The importance of citations', Journal of Citation Research, 30(2), pp. 50-56. doi:10.87657

Webpage

Author's last name, initial (Publication year) Title of webpage. (Accessed: day, month, year).

Butler, S. (2022). 7 apps to help college students do better in school. https://www.online-tech-tips.com/software-reviews/17-apps-to-help-college-students-do-better-in-school/ (Accessed: 20 June 2022).

DOI stands for digital object identifier. If a journal article does not have a DOI, writers should use the URL.

Capitalization rules vary from style to style. Harvard is called "down" style, which means that titles should be lowercase. This is different from styles like MLA, in which each principal word of a title is capitalized.

Harvard Referencing Example

The following is an example of a reference list that follows the Harvard formatting guidelines.

Harvard, Reference List Example, StudySmarterExample of a reference list in Harvard style. StudySmarter Originals.

In-text Citation Harvard

When writers use the Harvard style, they need to include an in-text citation following quotations or paraphrased information from another piece of work. An in-text citation goes in parentheses at the end of a sentence, and the punctuation follows the closing parentheses. Harvard citation style follows the author/date method of organizing citations, in which the author mentions the author's last name and the date of the source's publication.

Whether or not the author's name goes in the parentheses depends on whether or not it appears in the text. If it does, the writer only needs to put the source year and the page number in parentheses. For example, a writer can say:

According to Smith, "four years of training are required" for researchers (2018, p. 150).

Since the writer mentioned that the source of this quote is Smith, they do not need to put Smith's name in parentheses. However, if the writer did not, they would have to put Smith's name in the citation. For instance:

"Four years of training are required" for researchers (Smith, 2018, p. 150).

The following chart demonstrates how to format in-text citations for various sources in the Harvard style.

A writer paraphrases a source when they take small pieces of information from it and put it in their own words. Paraphrased material still needs an in-text citation because the idea is taken directly from another source.

Source Information

FormatExample

One author

Author's last name (year, p.).

or

(Author's last name, year, p.)

Smith (2018, p. 150).

or

(Smith, 2018, p. 150).

Two or three authors

Author 1 last name, Author 2 last name, and Author 3 last name (year, p.).

or

(Author 1 last name, Author 2 last name, and Author 3 last name, year, p.).

Smith, Johnson, and James (2018, p. 150).

or

(Smith, Johnson, and James, 2018, p. 150).

Four or more authors

First author's last name et al. (year, p.).

or

(First author's last name, year, p.).

Smith et al., (2018, p. 150),

or

(Smith et al., 2018, p. 150).

No author

(Organization, year, p.)

or

(Source title, year, p.).

(Environmental Protection Agency, 2017, p. 10).

or

(Why citations are important, 2018, p. 150).

No date

(Author's last name, no date, p.).

(Smith, no date, p. 150)

No page number

(Author, year, paragraph number).

or

(Author, year, chapter number).

or

(Author, year, no page).

(Smith, 2018, para 3).

or

(Smith, 2018, ch. 1).

or

(Smith, 2018, no page).

A source within a source

(Author's last name, year, cited in Author's last name, year, p.).

(Heart, 2016, cited in Smith, 2018, p. 150).

More than one source at once

(Author last name, publication year, p.; Author last name, publication year, p.).

(Smith, 2018, p. 150; Gerald, 2014, p. 10).

"p." stands for "page number." It is the page where the information was found. If the information spans more than one page, the writer should use pp. first page-last page in an in-text citation. For example, (Smith, 2018, pp. 150-155).

Harvard - Key Takeaways

  • Harvard is a referencing style that originated at Harvard University.
  • Harvard style requires double-spacing, 12-point font, and 1-inch margins.
  • Citing sources properly is important because it helps writers avoid plagiarism.
  • Harvard style follows an author/date format, which means in-text citations include the author's last name, year, and page number.
  • Harvard style requires a reference sheet at the end of papers with sources arranged alphabetically by authors' last names.

Frequently Asked Questions about Harvard

Harvard is a style for formatting references that originated in the 19th century at Harvard University. 

Harvard style format follows the author-date format of referencing. Writers put the author's last name, publication year, and page number in parentheses at the end of a sentence. 

To cite in-text citations according to Harvard, writers typically put the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses at the end of a sentence. 

(Johnson, 2018, p. 150). 

No. APA style is the American Psychological Association's referencing guide that is used mainly in the behavioral and social sciences. 

Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

What is plagiarism? 

When did the Harvard style originate?

Which of the following is properly cited according to the Harvard citation style? 

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