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Features and Peculiarities of Harvard Style

23 Apr 2018

It is known as one of the most popular and widely-used reference systems. It is also named “author-date” style. It is known as the most popular style in the sphere of liberal arts and social sciences. Mostly it is used in assignment writing. It presupposes that links to sources or other materials will appear twice in a publication:

  • Inside the text as a footnote
  • At the end of writing in the “Reference” section

Why Do I Have to Reference?

Referencing is a legal way to possess ideas and work belonging to other people. Without it, an academic paper will be considered as plagiarism. Such paper will have no acknowledgment nor good results. Plagiarism is strongly prohibited and will cancel all efforts automatically.

Proper referencing consists of two parts: a citation (which is made inside the text) and a reference (a mention of the source at the end of the work). The main purpose of the process is letting the reader know the original source of information.

Referencing is needed for:

  • Supporting an argument or providing sufficient evidence to an idea
  • Presenting other people’s work or ideas
  • Showing that your text dips into the subject
  • Getting rid of plagiarism
  • Letting your reader identify and find the source of information for future studying
  • Avoiding bad marks at school, university, college, etc

How to Create In-Text Citations?

If you use a direct quote in your text or recall a special idea or part of the text, you have to set their source. For this, you need to mention the name of the creator, the year and the page number (Surname, Year, Page).

The last one is very important, as you need to allow your reader search for direct information quickly. Having a page number, your audience must not look through the whole book. If you refer not only to the idea but to the whole work, you need to write the author’s surname and year (Surname, Year).

If you have already mentioned an author in your text, you need to write only the year and the surname in your essay.

Here are some examples of making proper citations in Harvard style:

  • Paraphrasing or quotation of a special idea: Research has shown a connection between cats and people (Doe, 2018, p.30). Doe’s research has shown the connection between people and cats (2018, p.30)
  • A quotation of the already mentioned author: Doe (2018) described a connection between cats and people. Doe described the connection between cats and people (2018, p.30)
  • Citing a small quotation: the recent research shows that “connection between cats and people has been developing for many centuries” (Doe, 2018, p.30)
  • For citation of long quotations, there is no need to use marks. You need to start a new line:

The recent research that concerns cats and people has shown some peculiarities:

… the connection between cats and people has been developing for many centuries. It used to be considered that the first contacts between these animals and people started in ancient Asia and Egypt. Cats were attracted to people with the start of agriculture when big grain depots appeared. Cats hunted mice (Doe, 2018, p.30)

It is always good to paraphrase the information of a source. That is how you credit the information. Try to avoid direct quotes as much as possible. There is no need to use the page number in the list in “Reference” section.

If you need to cite more than one source, separate them by using a semicolon: Cats were attracted to people. Doe (2018, p.30) insists that the connection appeared in Asia and Egypt, but some scientists claim that the meeting has been registered on the territory of modern China (Morris, 2017; Johnson, 1995)

Some sources may have several authors. If you need to cite a source with two authors, mention them both and the year (Doe and Johnson, 2018). If there are more than two authors, use the construction “et al.”, which means “and others” (Doe et al., 2018). In the reference list, you need to mention all authors without exceptions. Rank them according to the order used in the source.

If a book has no authors but an editor, act like he or she is an author. However, if a book consists of chapters written by several authors and then composed by an editor, you need to cite the chapter’s author.

When several works with one author are used, you can add letters after the year like in the bibliography section.

For example, ancestors of cats appeared in the Jurassic era (Doe, 2018a, p.45). The first connections between cats and people appeared in ancient Egypt (Doe, 2018b, p.30). The connections were built through cooperation (Doe, 2018c, p.67)

How to Prepare a “Reference” List?

The “Reference” section contains a full list used while creating work. It should include data about the author, date of publication, title, etc. Harvard style of citing has got several requirements for the reference list:

It should be situated at the end of a document on a separate sheet

Use the alphabetical order of authors’ names to rank a list. If the author is absent, the list should be ranked alphabetically by source titles, including the articles present in there

If there are several works by the same author, they are organized by year. If they have the same year, they are ordered by alphabet with adding a letter (a, b, c, d…) after the date

Each reference passage must contain essential elements: author, year, the title of source or chapter, the publication title, the place of publication, the publisher, the edition, page span, and URL (if needed)

Look through the examples of proper referencing of different types of information sources in Harvard style:

E-book. If you have got an e-book and know that it has got a printed equivalent, you can make a reference for the last one. Otherwise, use the following example:

Citation: cats have connections with people (Doe, 2018, p.30)

Reference: Author/editor surname, initials. (Title [online]. Place of publication: Publisher. Available from: URL. [Accessed date].

Doe, J. (2018) Cats and people [online]. London: Catsbooks. Available from: http://place-the-full-link [Accessed 4th August 2018]

Newspapers. As for them, you can mention an author and the year in the text. If the article has no author, use the name of the newspaper instead.

Citation: Cats have connections with people (Doe, 2018).

Reference: Doe, J. (2018) Why Cats Love People? The Cat Times. 18 August, p.13

Websites. Memorize that you need to highlight the overall website. For example, the source for an article on Wikipedia is Wikipedia. For websites you need to use the following format:

Citation: Cats have connections with people (Surname, year)

Reference: Author (Year) Title. Source [online]. Available from: website [Accessed date].

If the article of the site has no defined author, use the name of the site instead.

Blogs. To cite a blog, you need to use the same method as with regular websites. Do not forget to use the word “online” and write the date of access.

Here are some more things you should know about making a good reference list:

  • Use double-space indentation for making a list
  • The list must contain absolutely all the sources used in the text
  • Use italics to write the title of the resource: the book title, web resource, etc.
  • Year means the year of publication but not the year of printing
  • The edition of a book is mentioned only if it is not the first edition
  • Only a city (not a country) should be pointed at the place of publication
  • The title of any journal should be full
  • The number of volume and part should appear like this 63(3)
  • Pages ought to be presented like p. 4 or pp. 45-67

All in all, Harvard style is known as not a very difficult set of rules. It has its own patterns which do not change much from one kind of resource to another. This brief information will be enough for proper citing in any kind of academic writing.

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