Harvard University

The Harvard Referencing Style Explained

Why do we reference?

When we form ideas, we will usually look at other similar ideas created by other authors. When building an argument, we will look at what has already been said by others. So, therefore key reason that we reference is that we need to acknowledge the original author. Otherwise, we are effectively stealing their original work and ideas. This is seen in the academic world as plagiarism. Also, this gives you the ability to directly quote their ideas which will show off your academic skills. Other key reasons include, that it is good academic practice, shows an understanding of the field and developing your academic writing skills.

Where did it come from?

It first appeared in Edward Marks 'paper ' The Embryogensis of the Garden Slug 1881 . His paper was the first consistent use of parathensizing the author and date in a citation. Edward Marks was a professor at Harvard University and that is thought to be the reason why the style of attributed to Harvard. However, Harvard University does not endorse the style itself explicitly. The style is important in academic sciences as the author and date is considered as important and fundamental over the title of the work.

What is a citation and a reference?

A citation is something that you place in your actual text, 'citing' someone else's work. There are two main methods of citing, directly, for example Marks (1881) commented that '…' and indirect, Web services are a means of communication from machine to machine using XML files over the internet (W3Schools, 2010) . A reference is the full citation description which appears in your reference list or bibliography. Examples of these are listed below:

Book reference

Author, A., YEAR, How to Harvard reference . Manchester: ProofreadMyEssay Publications

Journal Article available online

Author, AA, Author, BB, Author, CC & Author, DD, YYYY. Title. Journal name , [Online] Volume (Issue). pp.123-135. Available at: WEBADDRESS. [Accessed on DD MONTH YYYY].

Newspaper article

Author, AA, Author, BB, Author, CC & Author, DD, YYYY. Title . Newspaper name, DD MONTH. p12.


Author, AA, Author, BB, Author, CC & Author, DD, YYYY. Title . [Online] (Updated DD MONTH YYYY) Available at: WEBADDRESS. [Accessed DD MONTH YYYY].

The above will change based on the number of authors that you have, if it is edited, if it is cited in something else. However, here are some basic examples to get you all started.

For a complete list of examples and to use a Harvard referencing application which I have made, visit ProofreadMyEssay and go to the referencing page.

I hope this helps!