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Citation Styles: Harvard

About Harvard Style

Harvard citation style is also known as the author-date referencing style. This guide will show you illustrations of common Harvard citations, guides for extensive needs for Harvard citation and some recommendations on how to manage citations in general.

Do take note that there is some slight variability amongst Harvard citations, such as in the dates and authors field. Check with your professor, lecturer or publisher to clarify which Harvard citation format to use.

Most importantly, whichever format you choose to use, it must be consistent across your entire assignment or thesis.

 There are three parts to citation:

  1. In-text citations that appear in the body of your theses or arguments to show the source of the idea, which come in the form of direct quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing. They usually appear in (author-date-page) format but there are variations.
  2. Reference lists or bibliographies found at the end of your theses or assignments.
  3. Footnotes have two uses. One is to take the place of in-text citations where the in-text citation will be replaced by a superscript number, and the in-text citation is relegated to the bottom of the page that the footnote is on. Another use of footnotes is to explain further a side idea that is not convenient to be expanded in the text as it breaks the continuity of the main idea's explanation. Usage of footnotes is dependent on requirements set by individual professors/lecturers and journals and are therefore optional in the Harvard citation system.

Harvard citation style is used typically in Social Sciences, Medical Sciences, Natural Sciences and Humanities. If you are not sure whether to use Harvard citation or other citation systems, please check with your lecturer or professor.

Rules about Reference List to Note

General rules of the reference list

  • The reference list should appear at the end of your work on a separate page.
  • Only include references you have cited in your work.
  • The Reference List is arranged alphabetically by author, with family name followed by initial(s), and thereafter chronologically, starting with the earliest date. 
  • All references should have a hanging indent. That is, all lines of a reference subsequent to the first should be indented.
  • Apart from the author and date, each element is separated from the others with a comma and the citation finishes with a full stop.
  • Each reference should be separated with a line space.
  • Book titles, journal names and titles of webpages must be italicised.
  • ‚ÄčIf two or three authors, list all authors, separating the last author with an ampersand (&).
  • If four or more authors, list the first author, followed by et al.
  • Personal communication is cited in-text only, NOT in the reference list.
  • Where an item has no author or organisation identified, it is cited by its title.
  • Where several works have the same author and year of publication, add a lower-case letter of the alphabet to the publication date. The order of the listing of the alphabet letters a, b, c … is based on the letter-by-letter alphabetical order of the title of the work.
  • In the Harvard style, sources that are not cited in the text but are relevant to the subject may be listed separately as a bibliography. 

In-Text Citation - some common examples

1 author/editor/translator In many cases, enterprises fail to understand how the impact of the crisis may affect… (Jackson 2000). Information prominent method. In many cases, Jackson (2000, 67-68) asserts how enterprises fail to understand the severity of the impact… Author prominent method.

2 to 3 authors/editors/translators: State intervention is necessary when… (Sandman & Krieg 2011, p. 94).

More than 3 authors/editors/translators: Marcus et al. (2012) raised a concern over the dwindling production numbers in....
The discovery has led to contention between … (Quah et al. 1993).

No author: Carbon footprints have … (Environmental Rues 2016).

Organization as author: Population growth is forecasted to rise at an exponential… (Economic Agency 2010). 

Direct quotes: ‘Buy-ins from government agencies is a leading factor in... ‘(Bridgehorn 1999, p. 22).

Multiple sources from 1 author in single year
It is suggested that… (White 2011a).
According to White (2011b), ….

Multiple sources within same parentheses: Building a foster family would … (Chan 2014; Agatha & Miller 2003; Frederick 2001).

Secondary citations (citing a source given by the reference): It is undesirable that… (Tan 1985).
Tan 1985 is a source cited by the reference source (Knight 2002). Only (Knight 2002) needs to be listed in the reference list or bibliography.

Personal communication (do not need to be cited in reference list or bibliography) - e.g. interviews, phone, email:
Mdm Sue Rabath (Dignity Agency CEO) had commented that….
My interviewee Rebecca Wong was willing to … (ABC Interview 2008 pers. comm., 19 July).

Tables and charts, websites: Sullivan 2006, p. 79

Citation Generators

The following citation builders are freely available from the Internet. NUS Libraries, however, does not provide support for any of these tools.