Harvard Citation Style: How to Organize References in the Paper

Harvard reference guidelines

The academic world encourages students to create original and thorough papers the authenticity of which can be proved easily. Students can prove that they have written the assignment personally is to cite publications that were used to conduct a research and prepare a paper. The Harvard citation style is one of the most widespread parenthetical referencing systems among students and scientists. There are two principal components of this author-date system – the in-text citations and the list of reference.

This citation style indicates the surname of the author and the year of publication of the paper you are citing. Due to the simplicity of this referencing style, more students prefer this system to incorporate quotes and ideas of other people into their writing assignments and scientific publications. The principal aim of this system is to validate the original source written by another scholar without breaching any intellectual property laws. This helps to enhance the originality of your paper proving that you have conducted the research and your analysis is based on expert opinions.

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Harvard style format peculiarities

There several crucial elements that should be taken into consideration if you are using Harvard style formatting for your academic paper. These guidelines have to be followed precisely unless your supervisor requires following different ones. So if you want to create a Harvard format paper, you should pay attention to such small details as font type and size, text-alignment and line spacing:

  • All the margins in your work should have 2.5cm on all sides.
  • The title page of your work needs to have the page number right to the header.
  • The fonts you can use are Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New. The most widely used one is Times New Roman, size 12.
  • And don’t forget about double-spacing and ½ identification for a new paragraph.
  • The reference list can be entitled “Reference List,” “Literature List,” or “References” (without quotations marks) and is always located at the end of the paper on a separate sheet.

Harvard style essay title page

The same as the rest of a typical Harvard essay, there are specific demands how the title page should be organized. If you follow the instruction precisely, your professor will grasp all the basic information about your paper. This is how a title page should look like if it’s written in a Harvard style:

  • Place the header with page numbers in the right upper corner. It’s the abbreviated or partial title with a page number to the right – the distance between them should be five spaces.
  • Next goes the title of your work written in capital letters. It’s centered halfway down the page.
  • Three lines down goes the name of the author written without capital letters.
  • Four lines down the class must be indicated.
  • One line down is the name of the professor.
  • In the next line, the name of the school is indicated.
  • Next goes the name of the city and state.
  • The last thing to indicate is the date.

Harvard outline as a means to organize your ideas

If you plan to deliver a thorough paper, you need an outline to monitor all the sources you have used to conduct your research. With its help, you can arrange the ideas you have taken from other sources. Harvard outline template is the following:

  1. The title page.
    1. The header with a brief description of the title.
  2. Introduction with the thesis statement.
  3. The main body divided into three paragraphs each dedicated to another idea.
  4. The heading introducing the first major idea of the paper (if needed).
    1. The topic sentence which introduces what will be discussed in the paragraph.
    2. Information about the issue supported by relevant in-text citations.
    3. Transition to the next idea.
  5. The heading introducing the second major idea of the paper (if needed).
    1. The topic sentence which introduces what will be discussed in the paragraph.
    2. Information about the issue supported by relevant in-text citations.
    3. Transition to the next idea.
  6. The heading introducing the third major idea of the paper (if needed).
    1. The topic sentence which introduces what will be discussed in the paragraph.
    2. Information about the issue supported by relevant in-text citations.
  7. Conclusions where the work is summarized.
  8. Reference List with full references of all sources mentioned in the main body.

Harvard in-text citation style

The in-text citations state the surname of the author from whom a quote is taken, the year his work was published, and the page form the source – all in brackets.

Example: One of the scholars (James, 2014, p. 65) claims…

Page numbers are mostly used if it’s a direct quote. These citations are much shorter than the full references which can be found in the reference list. It’s used within the main body of the paper and includes direct quotes from the original works or paraphrase of someone’s work. Direct citations that are shorter than 2-3 lines are typically integrated into the body of the work and marked with quotes. If citations are longer, they are organized in a separate paragraph without quotes. If you are using paraphrases, it means that you reformulate the source text.

  • If you have already mentioned this author before in the sentence, just indicate the year of publication in parenthesis after the name.

Example: As it was mentioned before, James (2014, p. 65) has elaborated a theory…

  • When citing a source written by two or three authors, state all surnames one after another.

Example: (James, Jones and Atkinson, 2014, p. 65)

  • In case you are citing more than three authors, there is no need to mention all of them. Just indicate the first one and put an abbreviation “et al.” in italics which stands for “and others.”

Example: It is claimed by several scholars (James “et al.”, 2014, p. 65) that…

  • There may be a situation when you take a quote from the source which was taken by that author from another source. You can cite the original work as a secondary reference. It’s allowed to cite only the source you consulted with.

Example: Chomsky 2000 (cited in James 2014, p.65) proposed… or (Chomsky 2000, cited in James 2014, p. 65)

  • If you indicate different works of the same author written in the same year, arrange them alphabetically by the title and place letters immediately after the year.

Example: James (2014a) and James (2014b)

  • In case the name of the author is not identified, use the title of the publication and the year.

Example: This research (Implicit and explicit connotations, 2014) …

  • You can also find a source without an identifiable date – put no date phrase after the name of the author.

Example: (James, no date, p. 65)

The reference list in a Harvard essay example

Creating a well-rounded essay requires a number of skills and expertise, knowledge of the chosen topic, and ability to present material in accordance with formatting demands. And one of the most important components of such academic assignment is a well-structured and precise reference list. The reference list is a list of full references which are organized alphabetically. All the sources mentioned in the main body needs to have references. You don’t need to indicate sources you consulted with if you haven’t borrowed direct quotes from them. If you need to mention all materials you consulted with while conducting research and writing an essay, then you need to write a bibliography. Ask your supervisor for clear demands to this section to avoid misunderstandings. Here are the tips on how to organize your reference list:

  • The reference list has to be located at the end of the work and always on a separate sheet making it easy to locate each source.
  • It needs to be organized by the author’s surname, alphabetically, or by the title if the author is absent.
  • When you are citing several books by the same author, order them chronologically and alphabetically by the title if they are of the same year. Locate a letter immediately after the date.
  • Titles of publications should be italicized if these are books, reports, etc. If you cite an article from a journal, the title of the journal should be given in italics.
  • White every title from the capital letter as well as the first letters of main words in the title of the journal.
  • Your reference list has to be double-spaced with a full blank line of space between each line of text.

When it comes to formatting references, the format deepens on the source type. When you are citing an article, a book, or a website – the most widespread source types – you need to format your references in a slightly different way.

  1. Citing a book you first indicate author’s surname and the first letter of their last name. It’s followed by the year of publication and title in italics and from the capital letter. After that state the place of publication and who published that book.

Example: Chomsky, N. (1975) The logical structure of linguistic theory. New York. Plenum.

  1. A journal article – place author’s surname, the first letter of the last name, title of the articled within single quotation marks, title of the journal in italics, volume number and the issue in brackets.

Example: Mitchell, J.A. ‘How citation changed the research world.’ The Mendeley. 62(9), p.70-81.

  1. A website. It’s cited as any other source with the name of the author and date in brackets. But you should also add the date when you retrieved this information and the website URL.

Example: Grady, D. (2018) New findings could save lives of more stroke patients. Retrieved January 25, 2018 from (here goes the URL).