A Comprehensive and Useful Guide to Harvard Referencing Style

A Comprehensive and Useful Guide to Harvard Referencing Style

By James on Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 No Comments

Harvard Referencing style is basically a style of bibliography that includes the name of the author whose findings and research have been re-used along with the date of their published work. The author-date style is linked to a famous zoologist, Edward Laurens Mark (1847-1946). He was also an anatomy professor and zoological laboratory director at Harvard. Evidence suggest that this particular style of citing bibliographic information was first used by Edward Laurens Mark in his cytological paper, according to Chernin (1988). He states that in 1881, an article published by Professor Edward Mark cited author and date in a parenthetical style which was further elaborated by a brief explanation. This marked the introduction of Harvard style referencing.

Given the name ‘Harvard referencing style’, most people would naturally assume that this style of citation was introduced by Harvard University. However, this is not the case. It was actually an English person who visited Harvard University’s library and was extremely impressed by this citation style that he found in one of the eminent publications. On his return to the United Kingdom, he referred to it as the ‘Harvard System’ for convenience (Chernin, 1988, p. 1063). Since that time, this system of referencing has been used quite commonly though; everyone has their own version of it. Since there is no hard and fast rule for this type of bibliographic citation, all versions differ slightly from each other but are universally accepted.

Here is a Harvard style referencing example including a footnote for explanation:

  • (author of the paper-year of citation, page- page number, paper’s name) :

   ….’the vision may be due to the reflection from the object itself. (Chernin, 1898, p 165)

The numbers following the writer’s name serve two purposes at once. First, they take the reader to the list of titles of the relevant paper, second to inform them about the approximate date.

What really is Harvard Referencing Style?

Usually, when students pursue a higher degree like bachelors, Masters or PhD, they come across terms like ‘bibliography’, ‘citation’, ‘referencing’ or ‘quotation’. They must learn that these must be included in their research work which is an essential part of their degree program. It reflects how knowledgeable the individual is on the basis of their claims and the information that validates them.

When researchers make questionable claims in their dissertations or thesis, they are bound to elaborate on them so that the explanations help readers understand the ‘whys’ and ‘how’ of their viewpoints. Furthermore, according to research professionals, they must also incorporate findings, ideas and quotes of other well-versed writers in order to reinforce their ideas. Students at this point must be wondering if it is legal to re-use someone else’s ideas and data. They should be informed that using referencing sources does not breach any law of intellectual property; however, they must not misuse the opportunity by using other’s ideas only. Most commonly, students who are assigned research papers in the field of humanities, social and behavioral sciences are strictly advised to do referencing Harvard style due to its requirements.

Harvard referencing style is a format of writing bibliographic information, which has two main components. Namely, in-text citation and a reference list. The former part includes the writer’s surname along with the year the work was published, all in parenthesis. This information is of the author whose ideas and argument have been used as support in the student’s work. The latter part generally highlights all the main sources that have been directly mentioned in the paper.

Students often get confused during citations. They must take into consideration that there are key differences, although not too big, that must be remembered, to quote in the right manner and not lose marks. In in-text citations, a brief indication of the source of the quotation being paraphrased is given. While, the reference list comprises all Harvard citations in an alphabetical order to facilitate the reader or professor in locating every source conveniently.

Harvard Referencing Generator: Create Your Citation Hassle-free

Students are only introduced to citations when they finally embark on to their degree-level qualification and that is why creating citations specifically in Harvard referencing style may seem a bit challenging to beginners. Despite it occupying a small portion of their written work, it plays an essential role in making the author’s impression in the academic world. A common mistake made by students is leaving citations and referencing for the eleventh hour when this part demands mindful thinking and keeping the record so that important sources of information are not missed out on. Individuals do not need to worry if their teachers are unavailable right when they need them the most. Harvard style referencing generator is perhaps a viable option to seek assistance from during such times.

Without a proper guideline or a good example of a citation, individuals at the end of their work may still not be certain whether their work is up to the mark or lacks professionalism. To do justice to the work that is a result of their blood, sweat and tears, it is vital that they learn how to add citations in Harvard referencing style.

The Importance of Citation: A guide to Harvard Referencing

Using the Harvard referencing style in a thesis or other lengthy written assignments help can be a daunting task. Especially for the ones who are new to the style and its purpose. But due to the role it plays in the important piece of literature on which an individual’s career is based, it is crucial students observe and learn how to make commendable citations. Flawless referencing will not only make the work exceptional but also protect the writer’s reputation in front of other scholars. A good Harvard referencing style example will provide guidance on how to perfectly cite information and help the writers understand why it is so important. Moreover, they will later naturally integrate the concept into every piece of writing, resulting in exemplary work every time.

In using the information taken from another published source, individuals must reserve some credit for the original writer. This helps in keeping a huge writing concern at bay; plagiarism. Plagiarism in work can seriously jeopardize the quality of work as well as the reputation of the student. It refers to copying the ideas and arguments in the exact same way as originally stated. Even while citing previously published quotes, students must carefully rephrase the work to avoid such common mistakes.

Plagiarism can be unintentional as well and happens mostly when students are under time pressure or lack confidence in writing. This could easily result in loss of marks or, in some cases, unacceptable work. Therefore it is advised by experts to learn the Harvard style of referencing by regular practice and create citations thoughtfully and carefully to avoid common mistakes.

Creating Accurate In-text Citation

In-text citations provide the writer’s with a perfect opportunity to add more information and validate their arguments by using the claims of others. It is like copying in a legal way. It enables individuals to create a strong connection between personal and the source’s ideas with ease. They must be informed that in-text citations must be part of the paper’s final word count. While writing following the Harvard referencing style guide, if a quotation, statement or any data is to be added in the main paragraphs of the thesis, writers should provide the source author’s surname and the date of publication in brackets right after stating the information. Other information from a different source should not be incorporated until the previous argument has been fully cited. For example:

  • ‘There are countless assumptions about information processing and cognitive skills. (Henry and Huitt, 2005)’

If the author’s name has already been mentioned in the text, the date of publication can then be directly added after the surname.

  • ‘In light of the development theories, Henry and Huitt (2005) suggest that…’

According to Harvard referencing style guide, if a particular part of the source paper is being quoted instead of the entire work, to be more specific, individuals must include the page number where it is taken from. It should follow the date and must be within the parenthesis.

How to Format the Referencing Sources

The reason why a reference list is a significant part of the written work is that it demonstrates the amount of research an individual has done to provide thoughtful arguments and claims. Consequently, validating the work and making it more authentic for the audiences. Properly listing the relevant sources not only eases up the task for the checkers and readers but also puts a lasting impression on people’s minds. Based on Harvard referencing examples, the reference list must include each and every source cited in the work. Many people confuse referencing with bibliography, though they are quite different. In the bibliography, brief background reading is included, while sourcing provides more convenience to the audience as it lists down everything alphabetically.

Writers must thoroughly understand citation and common styles like the Harvard referencing styles due to the significance it holds. By acknowledging its role in their research paper, they will be able to use them correctly and achieve their academic goals more easily.

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