Everything about the Harvard Referencing System

A variety of writers and researchers use the Harvard Referencing system to include original ideas and findings of other people in their own written publications. Referencing a quality and accepted source of information imparts credibility to a written document, as well as protects the writer from plagiarism laws and intellectual property disputes.

The Harvard system of referencing can be implemented in any academic journal through the following components:

  • Reference Lists: an alphabetically-ordered list of all reference sources used in the journal. Typically, the reference list appears at the end of the journal. Each entry in the reference list generally contains the following information of the referenced source of work:
    • Name (or names) of the author(s)
    • Title of the publication
    • Year of publication
    • Publisher’s name
    • City of the publication
    • The page numbers of the referenced content


Karskens, G., 1997, The rocks: Life in early Sydney, Melbourne University Press, Carlton

Hammer, M., 1990, ‘Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate’, Harvard Business Review, July-August, 104-112.

  • In-text citations: Citations are directly used in the content or body of the journal. It appears at the end of the referenced text, which you have included from the external source. The referenced text can either be paraphrased or be included within quotation marks. In-text citations are enclosed within brackets and contain the author’s last name followed by the year of the publication.


(Howard 1998)

Each and every citation in your journal body must be easily mapped to its corresponding entry in the reference list. This enables the reader to quickly retrieve the details of a citation from the complete reference list.

Additionally, listed below are some points that must be followed when using the Harvard referencing system:

  • When the source has multiple authors.
    If the source has 3 or more authors, the in-text citation can include the first author’s name followed by “et al.” However, the reference list entry must contain the names of all authors.
  • For including multiple works of the same author.
    Reference list entries of multiple publications by the same author must be ordered by the year of the publication.
  • When the source book has multiple editions.
    For books released with multiple editions, the edition number (example, 10th edn.) must be included (except when it is the first edition) in the reference list.

Thanks to its easy use, the Harvard referencing system is a preferred method of referencing in most academic papers.

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