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What is the Harvard Referencing Style?

Published by at August 14th, 2021 , Revised On August 23, 2023

There are various referencing styles, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard referencing style. In this article, we are going to talk about the Harvard referencing style.

Harvard referencing style is a referencing system that is used most commonly in U.K Universities. It focuses on the author’s last name or creator of the content and the date of its publication.

At the end of the paper, you need to incorporate a list of references in alphabetical order. Harvard Referencing style is used in two places in your paper.

In-Text Citation

It includes the author’s name and year of publication. Example: (Colin, 2018


It includes full details of the source used, including

  • Author’s name
  • Year of publication
  • Title of the source
  • publisher’s name
  • Place of publication

Note: There is no specific version of the Harvard referencing style as various Universities share their own referencing guidelines. You should always check the instructions of your University before citing your assignment.

Harvard In-Text Citation

Harvard in-text citation allows up to three author’s names; if there is only one author, you can follow this format;



If there are two to three author’s you can use the following format;



If the number of authors exceeds three, you can use the surname of the first listed author followed by  ‘et al.’



The following format in-text citation can be followed for any kind of source depending on the number of authors.

Note: Examples are created randomly to explain to you, and they don’t belong to any specific source.

Source Format Example
One author (Author‘s surname, year of publication) (Daniel, 2017)
Two authors (First listed author‘s surname and second listed author’s surname, year of publication) (Daniel and Brown, 2017)
Three authors (First listed Author‘s surname, second listed author’s surname and third listed author’s surname, year of publication) (Daniel, Brown and Collin, 2017)
Four or more authors (Surname of first listed author et al. Year, page number) (Daniel et al.,2017)
No author (Title of the text, year of publication) (Global Warming, 2017)
No date Include only the author’s name and skip the date (author’s surname) (Daniel)
Multiple works by the same author You can add alphabets like ‘a’ and ‘b’ after the year of publication to distinguish them According to the previous study (Brown,2015a) and a recent study (Brown, 2018), the rate of illiteracy among children has increased drastically.
Multiple citations together You can list multiple citations in order of the year of publication in the same bracket separated by a semicolon. (Daniel, 2017; Esapanol 2018; Lisa, 2019)

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Harvard Reference List

While compiling the reference list, you can follow this format, depending on the number of authors. The remaining details author’s name, year of publication, the title of the source, publisher’s name, the city will follow according to the format of the specific type of the source.

Source Format Example
One author Author’s Surname, Initial. (Year of publication)….. Daniel, J. (2017)…..
Two authors First listed author’s Surname, Initial. and second listed author’s surname, Initial. (Year of publication), Daniel, J., and Brown K.( 2017)….
Three authors First listed author’s Surname, Initial. Second listed author’s surname, Initial. and third listed author’s surname, Initial. (Year of publication) Daniel, J. Brown, K., and Collin, P. (2017)…..
Four or more authors A surname of the first listed author, Initial. et al. (Year of publication) Daniel, J. et al. (2017)…..
No author If the author’s name is not available, you can use the title of the source in its place. The Knowledge Junction( 2017)……….
No date (author’s surname, no date) Daniel, J.
Multiple works by the same author Include the citations in order by year. If sources are published in the same year, list them in alphabetical order by the title.
  • Collin, P. (2015). Digital Marketing. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  • Collin, P. (2016,) (2017). Programming point. New York: Atria Books.
  • Collin, P. (2017)The Data Management. New York: Doubleday.


How to Cite Page Numbers and Paragraphs?

As we have discussed the Harvard referencing style follows the author-date system of in-text citation. When you are using books, it’s essential to mention page numbers of the information you’ve used in your assignment. You can follow this format for mentioning page numbers. If the authors’ number is more than one, you can follow the format as mentioned- above while listing the authors’ names in your citation.

In-text citation Books with a Single Author
Format Author‘s surname, year of publication, the page number in parenthesis.
Example Good writing should be edited until it’s free of unwanted words and phrases, which doesn’t make sense.
(Zinsser, 2012, p.12)

Frequently Asked Questions

Harvard referencing, also known as the author-date referencing style, is a method of citing sources in academic writing. It involves including the author’s name and the publication year within the text and providing a full reference list at the end. This style is widely used in various disciplines to acknowledge and credit sources.

About Alaxendra Bets

Avatar for Alaxendra BetsBets earned her degree in English Literature in 2014. Since then, she's been a dedicated editor and writer at ResearchProspect, passionate about assisting students in their learning journey.