A Complete Guide on Harvard Referencing Style by Experts

Referencing styles are a way to cite your resources both intext and in the reference list at the end of your document. The purpose is to acknowledge the work of others you have used in your document and to avoid any sort of plagiarism. It also shows the reader that you have done research to ensure the authenticity of your writing. There are many different referencing styles, including MLA, APA, MHRA etc. The most commonly used in the UK is the Harvard referencing style.

This article provides a complete guide on Harvard referencing style. Please note that your university might have given a structure for the formatting style. Make sure to discuss this with your supervisor first.

What is the Harvard Referencing Style?

Harvard referencing style, also known as author-date style, provides a brief citation of the source, using parenthesis in in-text citations and a full citation in alphabetical order at the end of the document in a referencing list.

Parts of Harvard Referencing Style

There are two parts of the Harvard referencing style.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations are given within the text at the end of a phrase or statement. It is written with the help of brackets. It consists of the author(s)’s last name, year of publication and the respected page number of the document.

Example of In-text Citation

If you have found your Ikigai, you will find the satisfaction and meaning of your life that everyone seeks.

(Garcia and Miralles, 2016. p. 13)

From this example, you can see how you can cite multiple writers. If you have one writer, then you will write the last name of the writer, followed by the year and page number.

If you mention the name of the author in the sentence, then you don't have to mention the name again in the citation.

Example: Garcia talks about finding satisfaction (2016. p. 13) and the meaning of your life with the help of Ikigai.

Multiple Pages

Moreover, the use of p. represents the reference of one page. On account of more than one page, pp. will be used.

For example
(Garcia and Miralles, 2016. pp. 7-12)

No Pages

You will come across sources that do not have any page numbers, especially when citing a website. In such a situation, just cite the author or the website's name. In case of longer pages, you can cite the para or heading that you are referring to.

For example
(ResearchProspect, para.2).

Multiple Authors

The first example shows how you can cite two authors. You can use this format for at most three authors. For four and more authors, you write the name of the main author followed by ‘et al.’

(Maria et al., 2020)

Multiple Citations at One Place

If you have a phrase that reflects multiple sources, you can add the sources in the same brackets with the help of a semicolon like the following:

(Maria, 2016; Asim, 2019; Ellie, 2022)

Notice that you have to cite in the order of the published date.

Reference List

The reference list is added to the end of the document to cite all the sources that have been used in the assignment. You only write the references that are cited inside your writing. The reference list must be in alphabetical order of the author’s surname.

Tips to Create a Harvard Reference List: How to Format

  1. Make sure that you use the right punctuation to ensure the accuracy of the citations, and take special care of ‘Sentence case’ and ‘Title Case’.
  2. You must not place quotation marks or italicise the titles of Book and Journal citations.
  3. Capitalise the letter of the title and only capitalise the words within the sentence that are normally capitalised in the language.
  4. Start each bibliographical entry from a new line.
  5. Each entry should be aligned to the left.
  6. Keep double spacing throughout the reference list.

Some Abbreviations Used in the Harvard Referencing List

Abbreviations Fullform
ch. Chapter
ed. Edition
pt(s) Part(s)
p. Page
c. Circa
suppl Supplement
rev Revised
et al. And others
fig Figure(s)
ill Illustrations

Example of Harvard Reference List

Reference List

White, H. 2002. 'The westernization of world history.' In J. Rusen (ed.). Western historical

thinking: an intercultural debate. New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 111-119. Available from:

ACLS Humanities E-Book. [14 May 2009].

Drafke, M. 2009. The human side of organizations. 10th ed. New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Harvard Referencing Examples

In this section, the examples of Harvard referencing styles are stated with respect to different formats.

Books, Brochures, and Reports

For the above-mentioned sources follow the following format:

Author surname, initial. (Year) Book title. City: Publisher

Covey, S. (1989) 7 habits of highly effective people. New York: Free Press.


Follow the given format when citing websites Author surname, initial. (Year) Page title. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).

Ingram, O. (2021) How online assignment writing services can ease your workload. Available at: https://www.researchprospect.com/how-online-assignment-writing-service-can-ease-your-workload/ (Accessed: 26 December 2022)

Journal Articles

For journal articles, the following format is to be followed.

Author surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article title’, Journal Name, Volume(Issue), pp. page range.

Jennings, P. (1997) ‘The performance and competitive advantage of small firms: a management perspective’, International Small Business Journal, pp. 15(2): 63-75.

Sources with no Date or Author

At times, you will see that the citation does not have an author name or a published date, but the source is extremely important. In such cases, you can follow the format given below.In case of the absence of a date, you can just replace the date with ‘no date’. On the other hand, if there is no author, you can just replace it with the title of the source.

Example of no Publication Date

In-Text: (ResearchProspect, no date)
Reference List: ResearchProspect (no date) What is the best essay writing website? Available at: https://www.researchprospect.com/what-is-the-best-essay-writing-website/ (Accessed: 26 December 2022).

Example of no Author

In-Text: (‘Best writing website’, no date)
Reference List: ‘Best writing website’ (no date) Available at: https://www.researchprospect.com/what-is-the-best-essay-writing-website/ (Accessed: 26 December 2022).

Frequently Asked Questions

The citation can come at the end of the sentence or right after the quotation or paraphrase. When quoting, put the citation before any additional punctuation, such as a comma or full stop, but outside the quotation marks. The reference is written with the help of parentheses.

Although there are many small differences between the two most commonly used referencing styles, the major difference is that the APA (American Psychological Association) referencing style is used to cite sources related to education and behavioural science, whereas a Harvard referencing style is used to source academic scientific writing.

A bibliography is a little different from a reference list. A reference list contains a detailed list of references or citations in the work. On the other hand, a bibliography is a more comprehensive version. It is a detailed list of the citations in the text with any background readings done to work on the content, even if you haven’t cited them in the text.

The answer is no. ResearchProspect has professional writers specialising in all types of citations, including APA, MLA etc. We work according to your requirements. Some universities give their own styling rules; we make sure to follow them so you can get exceptional grades. Review with your supervisor what referencing style to use before placing your order.

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