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The Harvard style citation generator by PlagX makes citations easier. Create Harvard referencing in text citations and full length reference list entries through a simple user interface.

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Harvard Style Citation Guide

Harvard style referencing uses the author-date system for its in-text citations and requires either a reference list or bibliography at the end. The Harvard style of referencing is used commonly by students and researchers around the world and this guide will give you a great start to cite your sources. Also, use the free Harvard citation generator by PlagX to make your citation process easier. First, let’s clear up the difference between a reference list and a bibliography.

Reference list vs Bibliography
A reference list or Works Cited Page in the Harvard referencing style only includes those sources that have accompanying in-text citations. Whereas a bibliography is a list of all sources consulted for writing the paper even if they were not cited in the body of the text.

Harvard style reference in text citations explained

In-text citations in the Harvard style of references point to the full length citation in the reference list. Which means there is less information in them compared to the reference list. In-text citations in Harvard style referencing usually include the author’s surname and year of publication separated with a comma. If you refer to a specific location in the source, also mention a page or page range after the year of publication and separate it using a comma.

Using Harvard Citation In Text

In-text citations when using the harvard style of citation must be used every time a writer quotes, paraphrases or summarizes content that is taken from somewhere else. The format can change depending on the type.

Parenthetical vs Narrative In-text citations

Parenthetical citations are used towards the end. For example:
  • Research indicates that…(Campbell and Ham, 2019)
Whereas, a narrative citation, has the author's last name mixed in the text. For example:
  • Simmons (2020) expressed...

Harvard citation page numbers example
With in-text citations, you can mention the exact page or a page range when referencing to a specific part of the source. For example:

  • (Hamilton, 1976, p. 13)
  • (Jackson, 1985, pp. 3-7)
  • Patel elaborated on research data (2018, p. 6), however...

What if there are citation variations or missing information?

There can be multiple authors and it’s also common that you might have to use multiple sources in the same place. You can adjust the Harvard citation in text accordingly through the variations shown in the following examples.

All you have to do is make a slight adjustment. Consider these examples:

Harvard citations in text with two authors
  • (Patel and Peterson, 2015)
Harvard citations in text with three authors
  • (Humphrey, Patel and Nicholson,1998)
Harvard citation in text for four or more authors
  • (Kumar et al., 2020)

Multiple sources in the same place
With research, you are frequently collecting information from many places and are analysing evidence that points to the same conclusion. In those situations where you are trying to reference multiple sources that point to the same thing, it is important to cite all of them in the Harvard style of references accurately. They are separated with semicolons and placed in chronological order of publication date.

  • (Ruiz, 2018; Lopez, 2019; Lance, 2021)

Harvard referencing how to cite missing author in text
There are two possible in-text citation alternative options in this case. Either use the organisation or publisher as the author or the title of the source itself if even that is not available.

Source title as the author for Harvard citations
  • (‘Evolution of Auto Engines’, 2019)
Organisation as the author for Harvard citations
  • (UNICEF 34-38)
Harvard referencing how to cite missing date in text
  • (Jackson, no date)

Harvard Style Citation in a Reference List

The reference list, similar to bibliographies, goes towards the end. Here you list full length citations, in alphabetized order, that you used as in-text citations. In the Harvard citation style all the references list entries must be alphabetized according to the author’s last name. These are important because it allows the reader or professor to double check the cited source or review it for further reading and their own research. They include full details like the publisher, page range or a URL where it is applicable.

Harvard citation for multiple authors in reference list entries
When referencing with Harvard style, the format of multiple authors in the reference list is somewhat similar to the in-text citations. The difference comes in with incorporating the author’s initials and the publication year in brackets. Consider these examples:

Two authors in the Harvard citation style
  • Patel, H. and Peterson, T. ( 2015)...
Three authors in the Harvard citation style
  • Humphrey, G. Patel, K. and Nicholson, W. (1998)...
Four or more authors in the Harvard citation styles
  • Kumar, S. et al. (2020)...

Harvard referencing style full-length citation examples

A few source types are commonly used when referencing with Harvard style and they are shown here with examples to make citations easier.

Book Harvard citation example
  • Azhar, M. (2007) Tales of a Tailor. Liverpool: Loom Publications.
Journal Harvard citation example
  • Ricardo, r. (2001) ‘Model of Mining Quartz’, Journal of Mining, 200(5), pp. 2–9. https://doi.org/10.1177/002276520903266
If you are citing a journal in printed form then omit the online DOI locator from the end of the citation. You can also cite an online journal without a DOI locator but the format will slightly change.

For example, consider this modified version:

  • Trautner, M. (2014). ‘Teaching-infused Graduate Seminars: Incorporating Pedagogy into Substantive Courses’, Teaching Sociology, 42(1), pp. 61-68. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43187394 (Accessed: 12 February 2021).

Harvard referencing how to cite web page example
  • Adams, F. (2021). Plagiarism Checkers in The Writing Process. Available at: https://plagiarismcheckerx.com/blog/plagiarism-checkers-in-the-writing-process (Accessed: 12 February 2021).

Missing information?

Follow some simple steps when you find missing information for a citation in order to make appropriate Harvard style referencing.

Harvard citation for a Missing author
When referencing with Harvard style, either replace the author with organisation or publisher instead or use the title of the source itself as the author depending which information is available first or applicable. For example, both situations can be cited in the reference list this way:

Source title as the author
  • UNICEF history (2019) Available at: https://www.unicef.org/history (Accessed: 12 February 2021).
Organisation as the author
  • UNICEF (2019) UNICEF history. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/history (Accessed: 12 February 2021).
Harvard referencing with a missing date
The Harvard citation in text rule applies hare as well. You’ll have to replace the publication year with ‘no date’ in the Harvard citation style. For example:

  • Adams, F. (no date). Plagiarism Checkers in The Writing Process. Available at: https://plagiarismcheckerx.com/blog/plagiarism-checkers-in-the-writing-process (Accessed: 12 February 2021).

Formatting a Harvard style reference list

Follow this checklist for well formatted and structured reference list in Harvard style citation format:

  • Start on a new page with a bold font and centre aligned heading of ‘Reference list’.
  • Have each new entry on a new line and order references in alphabetical order.
  • Use a hanging indent of half an inch (0.5 or 1/2 in) if the source citation is longer than one line.
  • Order references in alphabetical order.


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