Harvard Referencing

Posted: 12th Jul 2011

This blog post is the first in a series about how to reference according to the Harvard System of Referencing, with examples.

Today, we will be looking at one of the most frequent types of citation: books. The way these should be cited in Harvard referencing varies according to several criteria, including the number of authors and whether the citation is INTEXT or in the REFERENCE LIST/BIBLIOGRAPHY – this post focuses on INTEXT only.

Please note that ‘...’ implies the rest of the sentence.

INTEXT References

‘INTEXT’ simply means the citations in the main body of your work. If you name an author in a sentence, it should be in the form of:

Author (YEAR, page)
e.g. Adams (2011, pp.7-10)

You only need to include the page number or page range if you are making reference to a specific section; you cite one page using ‘p.’ and a range of pages using ‘pp.’ Reference authors INTEXT using surnames only. You do not have to name the author in your sentence; you can put it in brackets. For example, like this (Adams, 2011).

If a text has more than one author, you cite in the following ways:

Referring to a text with four or less authors, in the sentence: Author W, Author X, Author Y and Author Z (YEAR)
e.g. Adams, Baker, Thompson and Stevenson (2011)

Referring to a text with four or less authors, not in the sentence: ... (Author W, Author X, Author Y and Author Z, YEAR)
e.g. ... (Adams, Baker, Thompson and Stevenson, 2011).

If there are more than four authors for any one work, you should include the first author only, followed by a comma and ‘et al.’ For example: Smith, et al. (2010).

If you wish to refer to several documents at once, you should follow these rules:

Referring to several works, in the sentence: Author X (YEAR) and Author Y (YEAR)
e.g. Brown (2007) and Lessing (2008)

Referring to several works, not in the sentence: ... (Author X, YEAR; Author Y, YEAR)
e.g. ... (Brown, 2007; Lessing, 2008)

To reference specific page numbers of multiple works: ... (Author X YEAR, page; Author Y YEAR, page)
e.g. ... (Brown 2007, p.92; Lessing 2008. p.23)

Notice you miss out the comma between the author name and the year.

What about several works by the same author? In this case, you would cite them with the earliest first:

e.g. Brown (2007, 2008)
e.g. ... (Brown 2007, 2008)

We hope you have found this useful; our next post will look at citing books at the end of your text (in the reference list/bibliography).


Neville, C., 2007. The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Pears, R. and Shields, G., 2006. Cite Them Right: The Essential Guide to Referencing and Plagiarism. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Northumbria University Press.

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Harvard Referencing (part 2)

Today’s post follows on from the previous one on citing books INTEXT. This post explains how books should be cited under the Harvard System of Referencing in the REFERENCE LIST or BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Read more


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