Unique aspects of the Harvard Citation styles you need to be aware of

References and citing source material is a very important aspect of academic writing. Different citation styles are used in a dissertation or research paper. Before using any citation check which referencing style your professor has asked you to use otherwise you can also lose marks by using the wrong style. This guide will help an essay writer in using the Harvard style of referencing, which uses an author-date method. If your professor doesn’t specify any citation style, then it is best to use Harvard style. This style is simple to use as well as easy to learn. When you start your research, make sure that you have collected all information that you can use for accurate references.

Before we come to the Harvard referencing style, let see what is referencing and citation?

Referencing is a method that shows your readers that you have carried out an appropriate and thorough literature search. In other words, referencing is an acknowledgment that you have used the written material and ideas of others in your work. Referencing has two main parts: a reference list and citing. When you use the work of another person in your college essay, either by adding a direct quotation or ideas, you must recognize this in your text. This acknowledgment is known as a citation.

Difference between a bibliography and a reference list

References are items that are specifically cited in your dissertation or thesis. You are expected to list all these references at your assignment end, this is known as a bibliography or reference list. A reference list consists of all references that are cited in a text. Harvard referencing style originated at the University of Harvard and has been adopted by many institutions. There are several rules of Harvard citation depending on the author's number. In Harvard style, a citation must include the author of the cited work and year of publication.

Citing one author

If you are citing a source with one author, then your citation will look as below:

A recent study investigated the effectiveness of counseling in treating depression (Anderson,2005)


Anderson (2005) has investigated the effectiveness of counseling in treating depression.

Citing two or three authors

If you are citing a source that has two or three authors, then add the names of all authors in your in-text citation. Let's have a look at the example: “According to a recent study, the prevalence of depression is increasing (Garner& Arami, 2009)” or “Evidence has shown that physical exercise is effective in managing the anxiety symptoms (Arami, Verdejo & Barros, 2010)”.

Citing more than three authors

If you are citing a work that has four and more authors, then after the name of the first author you will use ‘et al’. An example includes, ‘Social recognition of carbon storage and capture is important for latest technology interventions' (Van Garner et al, 2008)’.

Chapters by different authors Citation

Most of the books contain chapters that are written by more than one author. If you are citing work from these books, then you should cite the author who has written that chapter and not the editor.

Direct Quote Citation

If you are citing a direct quote from an article or book, you must use a single quotation mark. If you are quoting a direct speech, then use a double quotation mark. Also, state the page number. For example, Matthews and Menzies (2002) state that the effective stress principle is not understood and known by many engineers (p.5).

When you should use page numbers in in-text citations?

It is very important to add a page number to the in-text citation when you are quoting directly and when referring to a particular detail in the text. For example, an illustration, an idea or theory, statistics, or table. Page number helps readers to find a specific detail to which you refer.

Another common question that is asked by many students is “Is in-text citations are added in my word count?”. The answer is ‘Yes’. Usually, an in-text citation is added in word count as they are important to your discussion.

Citing Newspaper Article in Harvard Format

This is related to the journal article citation. The only difference is instead of issue number and volume, you add publication date and edition. For Example, Author surname, initial, Year, Title, day/month, and the page number.

A website with an author and no author

If you are citing a website with no author then in-text citation should be like this (CNN,2015). If you are citing a website with an author, then in-text citation should be like (Gillet,2015)

Until now we have covered the general rules of Harvard citation. Now let’s look at the Harvard style for using capital letters. In this, you should capitalize the first word of a journal, book, etc. The only exception is an organization name.

What if you cannot find the source data?

In-text, citations show the reader from where a quotation, idea, or piece of information is from. Knowing when your source was published, created, or last updated, it is very important to know the source currency. For an online source, carefully look when it was last updated and created. If you cannot find the name of a source author, then it is important to use the authentic sources that support your argument. For printed material, it is important to carefully look at the copyright publication information which is usually present on the inside of the book cover or reports back page.

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