What is the Harvard Referencing System?

by | Sep 8, 2023 | resources

FULL ARTICLE: https://www.citethisforme.com/citation-generator/harvard


The Harvard citation style is a system that students, writers and researchers can use to incorporate other people’s quotes, findings and ideas into their work in order to support and validate their conclusions without breaching any intellectual property laws. The popular format is typically used in assignments and publications for humanities as well as natural, social and behavioural sciences.

It is a parenthetical referencing system that is made up of two main components:

  • In-text citations including the author’s surname and the year of publication should be shown in brackets wherever another source has contributed to your work
  • A reference list outlining all of the sources directly cited in your work

While in-text citations are used to briefly indicate where you have directly quoted or paraphrased a source, your reference list is an alphabetized list of complete Harvard citations that enables your reader to locate each source with ease. Each entry should be keyed to a corresponding parenthetical citation in the main body of your work, so that a reader can take an in-text citation and quickly retrieve the source from your reference list.

Note that some universities, and certain disciplines, may also require you to provide a bibliography. This is a detailed list of all of the material you have consulted throughout your research and preparation, and it will demonstrate the lengths you have gone to in researching your chosen topic.

‘Harvard referencing’ is an umbrella term for any referencing style that uses the author name and year of publication within the text to indicate where you have inserted a source. This author-date system appeals to both authors and readers of academic work. Scholars find the format an economical way of writing, and it is generally more accessible to the reader as there are no footnotes crowding the page. Only the name of the author, the publication date of the source and, if necessary, the page numbers are included in the parenthetical citations, for example: (Joyce, 2008).

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