Harvard Format Citation Guide

Harvard Style Citation

It is important to cite information that you have extracted from other sources. It is not ethically right to use someone’s work without giving them credits. Harvard referencing is one of the citation styles that are widely followed to cite information. This article has highlighted everything that you need to know before citing your work using Harvard style.

What is Harvard Style?

Harvard style is a widely used format to cite information like MLA, APA, and Chicago. It contains both in-text citations and a reference list at the end of the paper. Harvard referencing is most used in humanities, philosophy, and behavioral sciences.

Format for Harvard Referencing

  • There should be one inch margin from all the sides.
  • The recommended fonts are Arial or Times New
  • The recommended font size is 12pt.
  • There should be double spacing in lines.
  • The alignment of text should be at left.
  • Title should be in the center right before the text.
  • Paper includes subheadings, a list of references, and a title page.

In-Text Reference/Citation

The general rules for in-text citations of Harvard styles are as follows.

Cite all sources

If you are extracting any kind of information from other sources, you need to cite it. If you do not do it, it will be counted as plagiarism. Plagiarism is not only ethically wrong because you are using someone’s work without giving them credits but also reduces the credibility of your work. You are not required to provide all the original content, you can use it, but the key is to cite it.

Appearance of in-text citations

In Harvard style, the in-text citations are placed in parenthesis. The in-text citation involves date of publication and author’s last name. you can also include page number in the in-text citation. If any of the three mentioned elements is not available, you can skip it. Considering the example of in-text citation (Max & Robert 2012), if the page number is available the citation will look like (Max & Robert 2012, p. 15).

Direct quotes

In Harvard referencing, you are not allowed to quote the exact words of someone. If you are picking the exact words from someone’s article, you will have to place them in quotation marks. You will also have to provide the page number. You should also mention the number of paragraphs you have quoted the words from. You can simply count the paragraph number from the website. Considering an example (Max & Robert 2012, para. 5)

When you mention authors in the text

There might be cases when you will mention the name of authors in the text. In such cases, there is no need to use the parenthesis. Another important consideration should be using “and’ instead of ‘&” when mentioning author’s names in text. You can mention the year of publication and page number at the end.

Citing author from some other source

If you are discussing the work of an author but that author has also quoted the work of some other author. This situation becomes the secondary referencing. You will have to cite the original author here but should also mention about the author who cited the original author. You can say that the XYZ author also quoted that in his work. In the reference list, you will cite the secondary author not the original author.

Several sources

If you plan on placing more than one reference together, you will place them in the same parenthesis. The references should be placed in the same order they appear in the paper. You should also separate these references using semicolons. Considering an example (Max 2012, Robert 2015)

In-text references can also be different depending on the number of authors that are contributing for the text. There can be one, two, three, and sometimes no author at all.

One author

When you just have one author contributing for the text, you will place the author’s name and date of publication in parenthesis right after the text ends. Consider an example (Max 2012) or you can say Max (2012) states in his work that “quoted text”.

Two authors

If there are two authors contributing for the text you will separate the two authors using “&” like (Max & Robert 2012). If you are writing the name of authors in the text, you must write “and” between the authors’ names not “&”. You should write according to Max and Robert (2012), then state the sentence.

Three authors

There are a few writings that have three authors. The citations for such articles would be written as (Max, Robert, & William 2012), you will write names of three authors separated by commas and “&”. If you want to involve the names of authors in the text, write the names separated by commas and “and”. According to Max, Robert, and William (2012), then state the sentence.

Four or more authors

There are a few writings that are too long and have so many writers contributing to it. For the in-text citation, you will write the name of one author and then write “et al” with a period followed by the year of publication like (William et al. 2012). If you want to involve it in the text, write the name of the author and then et al with year in the parenthesis like, according to William et al. (2012), then state the sentence.


Most of the articles or papers like publishers also have editors. It is important to give credits to these editors, translators, and publishers. There can be one or many editors for a paper. While citing the editors you will use the word “ed” before the name if there is one editor. If there are more editors, you should cite it by using the word “eds” before the name.

No authors

Generally, the reference lists are arranged alphabetically by authors’ names. In some cases, the paper does not have any author. For this, you must alphabetically arrange the reference list using the title of the article. Articles or pronouns are skipped from the title and the main word is used. The titles of books, journals, and newspaper articles are italicized in the Harvard referencing system. However, you can also put the title of an article, journal, book, or chapter in quotation marks. You will also be capitalizing the first word of the title.

Reference List

To every in-text citation, there is a corresponding reference list entry. Reference list citation is the detailed citation of the in-text citation mentioned in the text. You should use in-text citation in such a way that it does not interfere with the flow of your arguments or distract your readers.

A few general rules or considerations of the reference list are as follows.

Alphabetical order

You should arrange your reference list in alphabetical order. This alphabetical order is by the authors’ names. There are some cases when the authors’ names are not available. For that, you will arrange using the title of the document by skipping articles or pronouns.

Placement of entries

Every entry should be double spaced. You would not want your reference list to look like a complete mess. You should place your reference list on a new page at the end of the document and every entry on the new line.


When you are writing the title of articles, books, chapters, or any paper from the web, you will be required to capitalize the first word of the title. However, when you are citing the newspapers or scientific journals, capitalize the first letter of all the main words, not the article, conjunctions, and prepositions etc.

Multiple authors

In the Harvard style reference list, you should cite an entry for all the authors contributing for the text even if there are so many authors. In-text citation requires you to write “et al” but you cannot do this for reference list.

Several work by same author

If you are extracting information from different sources, but they are by the same author; you will arrange them by year of publication. If the year of publication is the same, which is a rare case, you will arrange them alphabetically by titles of the articles. You can also add a, b, and c after the years to distinguish.


Most common mistake by most people is to not cite the work when you have paraphrased it. The idea of paraphrasing is to express someone’s thoughts using your own words and style. Paraphrasing does not make the content your own. You still must cite it because it is not right to use someone’s work without credits. You should express people’s work in your own style but do not forget to cite it.


Summing up the whole discussion, the Harvard referencing style is a widely used citation style along with many others like APA, MLA, Chicago etc. The Harvard referencing style has in-text citations and reference lists. You should involve a corresponding entry in the reference list to every in-text citation. You just need proper guidance about it. If you follow the general rules about the Harvard referencing style, you will be good to write your paper following it.