Harvard Referencing Style – Your Comprehensive Guide

Formatting, referencing, citing, rules and limitations – these things make many college students shiver and lose motivation. Indeed, text formatting requirements always come as an additional burden to writing papers. We devote all our energy and creativity towards writing itself, while in the end there is hardly any enthusiasm left for formal things like proper referencing style.

The Harvard style is perhaps one of the least strict among other referencing styles and is more commonly used in humanities, for example, philosophy, politics, sociology, etc. Nevertheless, many important nuances exist in this style, which requires proper attention and memorization.

Citing Books in Harvard Style

The sole intention of this guide is to present all the nuances of the Harvard style in one place and with easy-to-understand examples. We honestly hope this guide will be a huge help for you!      

The Essentials:

  • Page margins should be set to 1 inch on all sides;
  • Arial or Times New Roman font style with a 12 font size;
  • Use double-spacing;
  • The title must be aligned to the center;
  • The text must be aligned on the left side;
  • Subheadings must be used to divide long texts into separate sections;
  • A separate sheet containing a reference list and in-text citations are both used.

How to Make a Reference List in Harvard Style

A comprehensive list of the referenced sources allows readers to conveniently check where you have gathered knowledge when preparing your paper. Such a list has to be created at the very end, as the last sheet in your paper. The sources in the list have to be sorted in alphabetical order by authors’ last names. When the last name of an author is not known, the very first letter in the work’s title must be indicated instead. A short letter, for example, “the”, “a”, or “an” shall not be taken into account. 

Also, if an author in your reference list has several works, those should be organized by publication date. If several works have been published by the same author in the same year – those should be organized alphabetically. 

What about using a source with more than one author in contributors? In such a case, arrange all contributing authors in alphabetical order, regardless of the total number of authors. 

For example:

Morgan L, Stern. S, Hemming A, Hudson F, 2004, Increasing Community’s Wealth, Primary Publishing House, Chicago.

How to Make In-Text Citations in Harvard Style

A proper in-text citation formatting is important not only to show your literacy and compliance with a particular style, but additionally as a safeguard to avoid plagiarism. According to the Harvard style, any in-text references must be shorter than those from the reference list on the last page. Students only have to mention the author’s last name, page numbers, and when the work was published.

For example:

Decker (1992, pp.153-161), Sorrel (2001, p. 234).

Observe how a “pp” sign is used for referencing multiple pages.

In case several authors have contributed to one work, the following rule shall be used:

(Dorris, Williams and O’Brian, 2010, p. 59)

Authors tend to collaborate and contribute; hence, a single source may have several authors. You don’t need to mention all of them, but just the first several and then “et al.” Latin sign.

For example:

Dorris, Williams, et al, 2010, p. 59

However, if you can’t tell who the author of a particular source is, you can simply mention the source title using italicized font:

A Textbook for Graduate Students, 1982, pp. 342-349

For referencing several works by the same author and with the same publication year, distinguish such works by letters a, b, c, d, after the year they were published)

For example:

Dorris, 2012 a, p.122), (Dorris, 2012 b, p. 401  

For referencing several works of a single author with different publication years, do as follows:

Decker, 2017, p. 308; 2018, p. 284; 2020, pp. 210-213

What about the situation when an exact date or year of publication is not known? It’s not a reason to despair; instead, say “no date” and mention the author’s name, followed by pages:

Decker, no date, pp. 512-514

Citing Books in Harvard Style

Sometimes, students need to reference entire books in their writing works. This is often the case with essays or term papers. 

In Harvard style, citing entire books requires mentioning more details. If you are new to citing books in Harvard style, don’t worry – we’ll show you how to do it properly in a matter of seconds.

In Harvard style, to cite a particular book you’ll need to indicate the author’s second name, initials, a year of publication, then an italicized title, edition (when needed), publisher, and finally the place where it was published. 

For example:

Walker, M. (2011) Applied Statistics, 3rd edition, London: Sky Publishing 

Rules for Citing Edited Books in Harvard Style

Are you confused about your book having no authors, only a bunch of editors? It can happen that in a single book, multiple editors can contribute to different chapters. In this case, Harvard style stipulates mentioning editors’ names, just like we did with the example above with books’ authors.

For example:

Christie, O.S. (2021) Foreign Policy Analysis, New York: Excel Papers 

How to Cite Chapters in Edited Books in Harvard Style

Citing particular chapters within edited books may sound like a nightmare for an undergraduate student. It’s like a puzzle within a puzzle. 

You don’t need to worry, though, as we have got a simple solution for your problem: 

  • Mention the name of an author first, continue with the year of publication, after that the chapter title without italicizing (though, using single quotation marks), then the editor’s second name, after that the book title, edition, then publishing agency, and finally a number of the page. 

For example:

Campbell, D.A. (1997) ‘The Introduction to Foreign Policy Analysis’, S.T. (ed.) Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy, Washington, D.C., pp. 77-81

How to Cite an E-book in Harvard Style

E-books have become very popular these days. Hardly any serious academic work comes without at least a few E-books referenced. If you still don’t know how to do it correctly, no worries, Harvard style has a simple algorithm:

Thomson. L. (2014) A Complete College Referencing Guide. E-book library. Available at: https://www.collegesources.com…(accessed: 10 September 2020)

Rules for Citing Journal Articles in Harvard Style

It’s not rare when students refer to articles within journals in their academic works. In fact, articles can be easily accessed and read, and they make up the majority of referenced sources in college writing. 

Harvard Style stipulates the following sequence of elements for a proper citation of an article within a journal or a newspaper:

  • Name of an author, followed by a year of publication, followed by article and journal titles, a volume outside brackets, and an issue within brackets, followed by a page number.

For example:  

Thompson, M.S. ‘How Humanity Affects the Environment,’ The Washington Post, 55 (10), p.5-6

Likewise, to reference an online newspaper article, you should include the full URL of that article. Also, indicate the date you have viewed the cited article.

Some Nuances of Referencing Articles Published in Newspapers

Even though the rules of citation with articles published in newspapers are very similar to the ones in journals, there are tiny nuances to remember and observe. The only difference is that you should replace the issue and volume numbers with the newspaper’s edition and article’s publication date.  

The algorithm is as follows: Author’s second name and initials, (year) ‘Title of the article,’ Title of the Newspaper, (edition), publication date, month, and the page number.

For example:

Freeman, O.A. (2013) ‘A Complete Citation Guide,’ The Telegraph (3rd edition), 28 September, pp. 14-18

For citing newspaper articles online, it is crucial to indicate the access date. Also, for online articles, you need to include their correct URL (instead of page number as with offline articles).

How to Cite Other Sources in Harvard Style? 

Now we have learned how to properly cite physical books and other sources of information. However, what shall one do with images, either found online or taken with your camera? Not many students can give a straight answer to that question. You may wonder, should an image URL be mentioned? Should I include my name and date when I took the photo? How can others possibly access my image?

Continue reading to know what Harvard style says about this and other difficult referencing cases. Let’s take one aspect at a time.

Referencing an Image in Harvard Style

To properly reference an online image in Harvard style, indicate the name of the photographer, followed by the year of publication, name or title of the image in italics font style, followed by the website’s URL, and the date you accessed that image.

For example:

Morris, L. (2005) Playing children. Available at http://morrislowel.co.uk (accessed 10 June 2018)

For in-text citation, you only need to mention the photographer’s name and year of image publication.

If you are the author of an image, follow the below sequence of elements for proper citation:

  • Your name, then the year when you took the photo, followed by an italicized title of the image

For example:

Biddulph, H. (2020) The playing children [Photograph]

Referencing Films in Harvard Style

For films, observe the following rule:

  • Movie title, followed by a year of distribution, who directed the movie (full name of the director), format, place of movie’s distribution, and finally the company.

For example:

The Calm Place (1988), directed by Todd Duffy [Film], Utah: Salt Lake Production

Use this comprehensive guide to craft your college work in a perfect Harvard style and even the most demanding professor will have no reasons to cut points from your A-grade paper!