The Harvard style is a system that students, writers and researchers can use to incorporate other people’s quotes, findings and ideas into their work in order to support and validate their conclusions without breaching any intellectual property laws. The popular Harvard format is typically used in assignments and publications for humanities as well as natural, social and behavioural sciences.
It is a parenthetical referencing system that is made up of two main components:
Whilst in-text references are used in the Harvard referencing system to briefly indicate where you have directly quoted or paraphrased a source, your reference list is an alphabetized list of complete references that enables your reader to locate each source with ease. Each entry should be keyed to a corresponding parenthetical reference in the main body of your work, so that a reader can take an in-text citation and quickly retrieve the source from your reference list.
Note that some universities, and certain disciplines, may also require you to provide a bibliography. This is a detailed list of all of the material you have consulted throughout your research and preparation, and it will demonstrate the lengths you have gone to in researching your chosen topic.
‘Harvard referencing’ is an umbrella term for any referencing style that uses the author name and year of publication within the text to indicate where you have inserted a source. This author-date system appeals to both authors and readers of academic work. Scholars find the format an economical way of writing, and it is generally more accessible to the reader as there are no footnotes crowding the page. Only the name of the author, the publication date of the source and, if necessary, the page numbers are included in the parenthetical references, for example: (Joyce, 2008).
Use RefME’s Harvard referencing generator to create your fully-formatted in-text references and reference list in the blink of an eye.
Not sure how to format your Harvard references, what references are, or simply curious about RefME’s Harvard referencing tool? Our guide can answer all of your questions and offer you a comprehensive introduction to the style.
Sometimes, students do not encounter referencing until they embark onto degree-level studies, yet it is a crucial academic skill that will propel you towards establishing yourself in the academic community. So, if you need a helping hand with your referencing then why not try RefME’s Harvard referencing generator? RefME’s automated referencing generator accesses knowledge from across the web, assembling all of the relevant information into a fully-formatted reference list that clearly presents all of the sources that have contributed to your work. Using this open-access generator to cite your sources enables you to cross the finish line in style.
It is important to bear in mind that there is a plethora of different referencing styles out there - the use of any particular one depends on the preference of your university, subject, professor or the publication you are submitting the work to. If you’re unsure which style you should be using, consult your tutor and follow their guidelines. The powerful Harvard generator above will create your references in the Harvard - Cite Them Right (9th Edition) format as standard, but it can auto-generate references in 7,500+ styles. So, whether your professor has asked you to adopt APA referencing, or your discipline requires you to use OSCOLA referencing, Vancouver or MLA, we have the style you need. To accurately create references in a specific format, simply sign up to RefME for free and select your chosen style.
Are you struggling with referencing an unfamiliar source type? Or feeling confused about whether to cite a piece of common knowledge? Our Harvard reference generator and this guide will provide you with everything you need to get both your parenthetical references and reference list completed quickly and accurately.
Referencing can be a confusing task, especially if you are new to the concept, but it’s absolutely essential. Simply put - referencing is the citing of sources you have utilised to support your essay, research, conference, article etc. Even if you are using our Harvard referencing tool, understanding why you need to reference will go a long way in helping you to naturally integrate the process into your research and writing routine.
Firstly, whenever another source contributes to your work you must give the original author the appropriate credit in order to avoid plagiarism, even when you have completely reworded the information. The only exception to this rule is common knowledge - e.g. London is the capital city of England. Whilst plagiarism is not always intentional, it is easy to accidentally plagiarise your work when you are under pressure from imminent deadlines, you have managed your time ineffectively, or if you lack confidence when putting ideas into your own words. The consequences can be severe; deduction of marks at best, expulsion from university or legal action from the original author at worst. Find out more here.
This may sound overwhelming, but plagiarism can be easily avoided by using our Harvard referencing generator and carrying out your research and written work thoughtfully and responsibly. We have compiled a handy checklist to follow whilst you are working on an assignment.
How to avoid plagiarism:
Secondly, proving that your writing is informed by appropriate academic reading will enhance your work’s authenticity. Academic writing values original thought that analyses and builds upon the ideas of other scholars. It is therefore important to use a Harvard referencing generator to accurately signpost where you have used someone else’s ideas. This will show your reader that you have delved deeply into your chosen topic and supported your thesis with expert opinions.
Here at RefME we understand how precious your time is, which is why we created RefME’s referencing tool and Harvard referencing guide to help relieve the unnecessary stress of referencing.
When adopting Harvard style referencing in your work, if you are inserting a quote, statement, statistic or any other kind of source information into the main body of your essay you should:
As well as saving you valuable time, RefME’s Harvard referencing tool will enable you to easily avoid common referencing errors. Login to your account, select ‘Harvard - Cite Them Right 9th Edition’ and ‘Create reference’ to copy, save, and export your in-text references instantly.
The brief in-text Harvard references in your work should directly link to your reference list. Utilising and building on a wide range of relevant sources is a guaranteed way of impressing your reader, and a comprehensive list of the source material you have used is the perfect platform to exhibit your research efforts.
Follow these Harvard referencing guidelines when compiling your reference list:
As a general rule a Harvard reference list includes every source that you have cited in your work, whilst a bibliography also contains any relevant background reading which you have consulted (even those sources that are never mentioned in the narrative). Your bibliography should start on its own page, with the same formatting as the rest of the paper and aligned to the left with the sources listed alphabetically. You may be required to provide a bibliography as well as a reference list, so check this with your tutor.Reference list / bibliography examples:
Are you struggling to find all of the publication information to complete a reference? Did you know that our Harvard reference generator can do it for you?
Time is of the essence when you’re finishing a paper, but there’s no need to panic because you can compile your reference list in a matter of seconds using RefME’s Harvard referencing generator. Sign in to your RefME account to save and export your reference list straight into Microsoft Word, EndNote, Evernote and more. Or save even more time by upgrading your account to RefME Plus to cite as you write within your document with RefME for Word 2016 for Windows, Mac and iPad.
Accurate referencing doesn’t only protect your work from plagiarism - presenting your source material in a consistent and clear way also enhances the readability of your work. Closely follow the Harvard referencing system’s formatting rules on font type, font size, text-alignment and line spacing to ensure that your work is easily legible. Before submitting your work check that you have formatted your whole paper - including your reference list - according to the style’s formatting guidelines.
How to format in Harvard:
Even when using a Harvard referencing generator, always check with your professor for specified guidelines - there is no unified ‘Harvard Style’ for the formatting of a paper.
The author-date system is attributed to eminent zoologist Edward Laurens Mark (1847-1946), Hersey professor of anatomy and director of Harvard’s zoological laboratory. It is widely agreed that the first evidences of the citation style can be traced back to Mark’s landmark cytological paper (Chernin, 1988). The paper breaks away from previous uses of inconsistent and makeshift footnotes through its use of a parenthetical author-date citation accompanied by an explanatory footnote.
A tribute dedicated to Mark in 1903 by 140 students credits Mark’s paper with having ‘introduced into zoology a proper fullness and accuracy of citation and a convenient and uniform method of referring from text to bibliography’ (Parker, 1903). Today Harvard referencing is widely considered one of the most accessible styles and is used across most subjects.
Due to its simplicity and ease of use, the format has become one of the most widely adopted citation styles in the world. However, many universities offer their own unique style guide, and each has its own nuances when it comes to punctuation, order of information and formatting rules. UK university-specific styles, such as Bristol University Harvard, are all available via RefME’s Harvard referencing generator - simply go to the RefME website to login to your RefME account and search for the version you need. Make sure you apply consistency throughout your work.
RefME’s Harvard reference generator currently uses the Cite Them Right 9th Edition, which has evolved in recent years to match the ever advancing digital age. It is increasingly easy for writers to access information and knowledge via the internet, and in turn the Harvard referencing guidelines are continually updated to include developments in electronic publishing.
Key differences from previous Cite Them Right editions:
These days students draw on a diverse range of digital sources to support their written work. Whether you are citing a hashtag on Instagram, a podcast or a mobile app, RefME’s Harvard referencing tool will take care of all your references, regardless of the type of source you want to cite.
Disheartened by the stressful process of referencing? Got a fast-approaching deadline? Using RefME’s fast, accessible and free Harvard generator makes creating accurate references easier than ever, leaving more time for you to focus on achieving your academic goals.
Create a free account to add and edit references on the spot, import and export full projects or individual entries, utilise our add-ons and save your work in the cloud. Things get even easier with RefME for Chrome - an intuitive, handy browser extension that allows you to instantly create and edit a reference whilst you browse the web. Use the Harvard referencing tool on any webpage that you want to reference, and add it to your chosen project without interrupting your workflow.
Use RefME’s reference management tool to cite on-the-go with your mobile phone or tablet. When you scan the barcode of your book with the mobile app, the generator will automatically add the fully-formatted reference to your chosen project. It is available on both iOS and Android.
Unlock the full power of RefME’s multi-platform Harvard referencing generator by upgrading your account to RefME Plus. As well as accessing RefME for Word and Folders, you can capture citations in a flash on your smartphone with Photo Quotes.
RefME’s reference management tool is here to help you, so what are you waiting for? Accurate Harvard style references are just a click away!
Chernin, E. (1988) The ‘Harvard System’: A mystery dispelled. Available at: http://www.uefap.com/writing/referenc/harvard.pdf (Accessed: 4 July 2016)
Parker, G. (ed.) (1903) Mark anniversary volume. New York: Henry Holt.
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