Harvard Citation

Learn how to use Harvard citations in your paper.

A Harvard citation is the citation style used with the Harvard Referencing System (HRS). These citations are often used in scientific and technical report writing. Harvard citations allow writers to reference their source of information within the text of their work. Those citations are then compiled in a list of references located at the end of the document called the reference list.

The Basics of the Harvard Citation System


Harvard Citation Defined

The Harvard Referencing System is a common writing style used in science and technical writing. Like most writing styles, the Harvard Referencing system is composed of both citation and referencing rules and guidelines. The Harvard citation, also referred to as parenthetical citation, allows writers to reference sources within the text of their work.

Harvard Citation Example


Harvard Citation - Harvard Citation example, Harvard reference list.

Harvard Citation example, Harvard reference list

Harvard Citations

The Harvard Referencing System uses parenthetical citations to reference the work of others within the text of a work. The citation is often composed of the author’s name, year of publication, and page numbers. Each citation used within a work is also detailed in the Harvard bibliography or references list located at the end of the paper.

Harvard Citation Guidelines

  • Capitalize the names of authors including initials.
  • If the author’s name is in the text, follow with year in parentheses.
  • When referencing multiple sources within one set of parenthesis, separate sources with semicolons.
  • When articles or studies have no author, use the name of the magazine or journal instead.

Harvard Citations and the References Page

Every Harvard citation that is used within a paper must also be included in the references page. The reference list provides greater detail for every citation used in the work. The detailed information in the reference list allows readers to access the original source of information for themselves.

The references list begins on a separate page from the essay and coordinates with every Harvard citation used throughout the text. The type of source that is used, whether it is a book, journal article, or electronic source, determines the format of Harvard citations and references. In order to follow the correct format, be sure to refer to the official Harvard Reference System guidelines.

Harvard References Page Guidelines

  • The Harvard References page must be labelled “References.”
  • The “References” title should be located at the top, center of the page.
  • “References” should not be bolded, underlined, or italicized.
  • All Harvard citations included in a work must also be included in the reference list.
  • Harvard references must be alphabetized by last name of the author.
  • Periodical and publication volume, issue, page numbers, publisher, and place of publication must be included in Harvard references.
  • Italicize book and journal titles.
  • Do not italicize, underline, or quote journal articles or essays.


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