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Features and Peculiarities of Harvard Referencing

Harvard style referencing, also known as the “author-date” style, is one of the most widely-used systems in academia at present. It is primarily used for assignment writing in the sphere of liberal arts and social sciences. This style requires the author to cite sources twice in the course of any written work: first inside the text as a footnote, and later at the end of the piece in the reference section. It is widely used in universities and research institutes in and throughout . It can be done manually or with an online Harvard reference generator.

What is the Purpose of Referencing?

When you reference the sources you use in any written assignment, you give formal credit to others whose original ideas or research findings you utilized when creating your own work. Failing to properly cite these sources is tantamount to stealing their writers’ intellectual property, and in a worst case scenario, could result in them pressing legal charges against you. Even without legal consequences, intellectual theft or plagiarism is deeply frowned upon in all academic arenas. The vast majority of academic institutions have a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism, which means any paper possessing it will automatically receive a failing grade, and any scholar attempting to submit plagiarized work will have a strong negative mark on their scholastic record, making future efforts to publish that much more difficult.

Ultimately, the main reason for referencing sources is to inform the reader of the original source of a given piece of information. It is also necessary for the following purposes: providing evidence for an argument the writer wishes to make, presenting another’s research of ideas, indicating the depth of your own research, offering the reader a way to find out more about the field of study for future reference, and generally show that you know how to write a serious academic paper that follows precedent.

Harvard Referencing Style: In-Text Citations

When using a direct quote or discussing a theory or meaning in your text, it is necessary to present the source from which it came. To do this, you must include the author’s name, the year the source was produced and the page number you found it on (Surname Year, Page).

The last one is very important, as you need to allow your reader search for direct information quickly. Having a page number, your audience needn’t look through the whole book. If you refer not only to the idea but to the whole work, you need to write the writer’s surname and year (Surname Year).

If you have already mentioned an writer in your text, you need to write only the year and the surname in your essay.

Here are some examples of making proper citations in Harvard in text referencing:

  • Paraphrasing or quoting a particular idea: Studies have shown a sixfold increase in membership to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the past decade (Smith 2018, p. 12). Smith’s research indicates a sixfold increase in membership to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the past decade (2018, p.12)
  • A quotation of an aforementioned writer: Smith (2018) found a sixfold increase in members to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster between 2008 and 2018. Smith found a sixfold increase in members to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster between 2008 and 2018 (2018, p.12)
  • Citing a short quotation: recent observations have indicated that “membership to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has increased sixfold in the past decade (Smith 2018, p. 12)
  • For citing lengthy quotes, quotation marks are not necessary. Instead, you should put them on a new line:

Recent research in the realm of alternative religious movements postulates as to the growth of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

… as greater numbers of people leave conventional religion in the 21st century, many look for an alternative to fill the void in life left by their previous faith. What’s more, among those who have recently left organized religion, disbelief is tied to a sense of disillusionment that they see manifested through satire. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or “Pastafarianism” meets these needs as a parody of traditional religions and an alternative to the ambiguity of atheism (Smith 2018, p.12)

If you have to cite more than one source, distinguish them from each other with a semicolon: The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has grown sixfold in the past decade. Smith (2018, p.12) argues that declining participation in conventional religion have lead to an interest in whimsical spiritual alternatives while others posit that satirical groups like Pastafarians have emerged as part of an effort to combat extremism in conventional sects (Jones 2016; Atwood 2018).

If you have to cite a source with two authors, include them both and then the year (Smith and O’Brien 2017). If a source has three or more authors, describe them with “et al.”, i.e. “and others.” (Smith et al. 2018). Include all authors’ names in the reference list (it can be Harvard or Chicago reference).

If a source has no particular author, but an editor, put the editor’s name in place of the author’s, adding “ed.” after to indicate the title. However, if the source is a compilation of smaller written works by multiple authors and put together by an editor (for instance, a compilation of short stories), include the name of the writer of the particular segment you are referencing.

If you wish to cite multiple sources by a single writer, include letters after the date to indicate distinction.

In keeping with our previous example, in 2005, Bobby Henderson penned The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Smith 2018a, p.18). The phenomenon of Pastafarians began wearing collanders on their heads in identification photos as a sign of their faith became widespread in 2011 (Smith 2018b, p. 26). The first legally-recognized Pastafarian wedding took place in 2016 (Smith 2018c, p.32).

What is a Reference List?

A reference list is much like a bibliography in that it shows all the materials used when creating a piece of written work. It must include all basic information about the source such as the writer, title, date of publication, etc. A reference list done in the Harvard citation style contains several of its own unique requirements:

It must be located at the end of the document as an appendix and on a separate page from all other information.

List the authors’ names in alphabetical order; if no author is mentioned, use the title of the source in its place, also in alphabetical order.

If you are using multiple sources by the same author, list them in chronological order by date of publication with a lower-case letter (a, b, c, d…) included after the date.

Each entry on a reference list must include the following essential information in the following order: author, year, the title of source or chapter, the publication title, the place of publication, the publisher, the edition, page span, and URL (if needed)

Below is a list of more useful tips to consider when assembling a reference list as stated on the UNSW website:

  • Use double-space indentation between entries
  • List all sources used in your work
  • Write the title of your source in italics
  • Remember that the year listed is the year the source was published, which is not necessarily the same as the year of printing
  • Only mention the edition of a book if it is not the first
  • List the city as place of publication (country not necessary)
  • Use the complete title of any journal you cite (no abbreviations)
  • List the number of a volume and section as such: 46(2)
  • Write pages as “p.6” or “pp.12-22”

How To Cite

  • Multiple sources
    • In-Text Citation: first author surname year; second author surname year; et al
    • Reference: first author surname, initials year; second author surname, initials year, et al
    • Note: When inserting two or more references at one point in the text, put them in alphabetical order by the surnames of the first authors. Separate each source with semicolons.
  • Books
    • In-Text Citation:
      • (Author surname, year, page number)
    • References:
      • Author surname, initials, year, Book Title, Publisher, location of publication
    • Notes: For an E-book or textbook, use the following format:
      • In-Text Citation: passage reference (author surname, year, page number)
      • Reference: Author/editor surname, initials. (Title [online] Place of publication: Publisher. Available from: URL [Date accessed]).
  • Journal Articles
    • In-Text Citation
      • Author surname year
      • Author surname year, page number
    • Reference:
      • Author surname, Initial(s) Year, 'Article title', Journal Title, volume, issue or number, page range.
      • Author surname, Initial(s) Year, 'Article title', Journal Title, volume, issue or number, page range, viewed Day Month Year, .
    • Note: use capital letters in article titles sparingly; capitalization is generally used in journal titles
  • Newspapers
    • In-Text Citation:
      • Author surname, year
      • Author surname year, page number
    • Reference:
      • Author surname, Initial(s) Year, 'Article title', Newspaper Title, Day, Month, page range.
    • Note: If the article has no author, use the name of the newspaper in its place
  • Lectures
    • In-Text Citation
      • Author surname year
      • Author surname year, page number
    • Reference:
      • Author surname, Initial(s) year, Title of the study guide or lecture notes: subtitle, Type of Medium, University Name, viewed date, .
    • Note: this particular format is meant for citing lecture notes and other course material (i.e. a PowerPoint presentation). If you wish to cite an oral claim from a lecture, treat it as a primary source quotation.
  • Thesis statements
    • In-Text Citation:
      • Author surname year
      • Author surname year, page number
    • Reference:
      • Author of thesis surname, Initial(s) year of submission, 'Title of thesis', Title of degree, Institution issuing degree, Location of Institution.[7]
    • Note: the above format is for citing unpublished theses and puts the title in quotation marks instead of italics. Published theses should be cited in standard book format.
  • Webpages
    • In-Text Citation:
      • Author surname year
    • Reference:
      • Author surname, Initial(s) year (page created or revised), Title of page, Publisher (if applicable), viewed Day Month Year, .
    • Notes:
      • If the article of the site has no defined author, use the name of the site instead.
  • Legal Sources
    • In-Text Citation:
      • Title of the Act Year
      • Title of the Act Year (abbreviation of the jurisdiction)
    • Reference:
      • Title of the Act and date of publication (abbreviation of the jurisdiction), section number(s), reprint number, Publisher, Place of publication
    • Note:
      • Legislation is only included in a list of references if it is instrumental to understanding a larger piece of work, in which case it should be put forth under the subheading of “Legislation.”

All truth be told, the Harvard style of referencing (also referred to as Harvard bibliography) is one of the easiest sets of standards to learn. It has consistent patterns to follow which isn’t very different between types of sources cited. We hope you have found this Harvard style citing guidelines useful and informative. Happy sourcing!

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