Harvard Referencing Style – The Ultimate Guide for Referencing

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The literal meaning of reference is mentioning or suggesting someone or something either directly or indirectly. References are widely used
Harvard Referencing Style

The literal meaning of reference is mentioning or suggesting someone or something either directly or indirectly. References are widely used when research is conducted because even a minimum amount, but a little help is required from already published researches on a similar topic and that is where the references take place i.e., where a particular idea has been taken from. Referencing is done to save the researcher from the accusation of stealing someone else’s content or plagiarism. 

Typically, a reference page is designed to mention all the details of any ideas or help taken from someone else. The reference page is inserted at the last of the writer’s assignment or research that lists down all the sources that have been used to draft the paper. Also, one important thing to keep in mind is to use the correct format for references. Usually, to cite the references which means declaring the author’s name, paper’s name, month and year of publication, and some other related information; a standard format i.e., American Psychological Association (APA) format is used which is easier and more convenient to understand for the reader than other formats that tend to be a little tricky to get. 

There is another form of reference which is called in-text citation which means to give credit to the source of information within your text, however, it must be included in the references as well. In-text citation looks more formal and presentable and also the readers find the paper to be authentic if it contains citations and references. (Study.com, n.d.)

Example of sources:

  • Books
  • Articles
  • Blogs
  • Website 
  • Research Papers
  • Journals 

All of the above-mentioned fall under the category of sources where relevant and related data to the topic of research can be extracted, however, it is necessary to cite or mention where the information has been retrieved from. 

Referencing Styles

There are four major styles of referencing that can be used by the writer when composing an essay, assignment, research, or dissertation. They are; (Royal Literary, n.d.)

  • Modern Languages Association System (MLA) 
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • The Harvard System is also known as Parenthetical Referencing
  • Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) 

These are the types of references that are used around the globe and the tutor or the institution for whom the research is being conducted on an essay is being composed, they mention the type of referencing they prefer and therefore, the writer has to abide by it.

Although all four referencing styles are parenthetical formats their usage differs which means not every referencing style is used for every kind of paper. For Example: With the subtle difference between the style of citation Modern Languages Association System (MLA) I used for citing the literature like paintings or books whereas the American Psychological Association (APA) format is used for more scientific and technical work like business reports or social and behavioral science-related work. (Bibliography.com, n.d.) The Harvard system on the other hand is entirely used for academic writing.

Harvard Referencing Style Overview

As suggested so far, the purpose of referencing is to allow the reader to trace the source of information to increase the credibility of the paper. That is why referencing is used and is widely recommended whenever writing a report. Citation or referencing has been proven a great dissertation help UK-wide. However, the writer must not confuse the name of the reference style i.e., The Harvard style with the fact that it can be used around the globe and not just in the USA. The Harvard style of referencing is used in academics by the students for their work to mention other people’s quotes, ideas, findings, and results without rupturing the rules or stealing someone else’s content.   

As discussed above, the Harvard referencing style or even other referencing formats have two major subtypes i.e., in-text citation and a reference page or list at the end of the assignment. Where in-text citation mentions directly the name of the author and the year published of the paper in the main body of the essay, a reference page mentions all the citations from top to down in alphabetical order.

The Harvard style of referencing is said to be the most economical way of writing since it’s comprehensible by the readers and suitable for the writer as well as creating a win-win situation for both. Also, The Harvard style is termed as an umbrella title for all the referencing styles that use the format of author name and year published particularly in parentheses, however, sometimes, the page number is also quoted in the in-text citation to make it more precise. This is usually done when the reference source report has multiple pages, therefore, to enable ease for the readers; page number is also included. 

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The Harvard referencing style includes the following details that must be put in to cite the text; (Cite this, n.d.)

  • Name of author or authors
  • Year of publication
  • City of publication 
  • Title of the report 
  • Publisher 
  • Pages written

All these details are put in a linear manner so that it is easy for the reader to comprehend. For example; the usual manner of citation in the Harvard style is 

Last name, First name initial. (Year published). Title. City: Publisher, Page(s).

If there is more than one author, then citation is done in alphabetical order and if multiple resources are used by a single author, the citation would be done in chronological order that is most recent to the former.


Although, there is a minute difference in all of the referencing formats mentioned in the blog; they all are used for different purposes. Not all the formats can be used for all types of writing, which is why the institutes mention the type of referencing they are needing. Mostly, it is seen that APA and Harvard formats are used interchangeably whether it is an academic or professional writing and people do get confused whenever citing.

For the ease of researchers, there is plenty of applications and website available where they can get their paper cited, all they are required to do is click on the button that says ‘do my dissertation for me’ and all the options provided by the website would populate out of which citation and references are the ones. That’s how simple citation has become because it is imperative for all kinds of writings be it essays, assignments, thesis, or office reports; referencing is mandatory. 

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