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Harvard citation style: Understanding referencing

Referencing: a two-step process

There are two main elements in the Harvard citation style: in-text citations in your paper and the reference list at the end of your paper. 


Click on the tabs in the box below to see examples of in-text citations and examples of reference list entries.


For more information on how to reference, including how to avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct, see the Student Services STUDYSmarter referencing guides.

In-text and reference list examples

Harvard is an 'author/date' system, so your in-text citation consists of author(s) and year of publication.

In-text citation of a book (the same format applies for a journal article):

Note that there is no punctuation between the author's surname and the year of publication.


If you quote directly from an author or paraphrase a specific idea or piece of information from a source, you need to include the page number of the quote or passage in your in-text citation.

For example:

It has been asserted that the primary "role of management is to combine, allocate and utilise the organisation's resources in a way that will assist the organisation to achieve its objectives" (Bray et. al. 2014, p. 129).


In-text citation of a website


What if I want to cite some information that someone else has cited?

If you read an article or book which cites some information that you want to cite, always refer to the source where you found the information, not the original source. For example:

Sue reads an article by Alex Byrne in the Australian Library Journal in which he cites or refers to statements made by Tim O'Reilly on his website at Sue wants to refer to O'Reilly's statement in her assignment.

Sue would acknowledge O'Reilly in her text but her reference is to the source where she saw the information. Sue might write as her in-text reference:

(O'Reilly, cited in Byrne 2008)

In her reference list Sue would write a reference for Byrne's article because that's where she sourced the information. The entry in her Reference List would be:

Byrne, A 2008, 'Web 2.0 strategies in libraries and information services', The Australian Library Journal, vol. 57 no. 4, pp. 365-376.

Reference List examples

All in-text citations should be listed in the reference list at the end of your document. 

Reference list entries contain all the information that someone needs to follow up your source. Reference lists in Harvard are arranged alphabetically by first author.




Journal article from an electronic database

Note the various punctuation marks:

  • commas between all elements except the author's initial/s and date (as per the book reference)
  • full stops between the: pages and database name, database name and date viewed online, and at the end of the reference.

The article title should be enclosed in 'single quotation marks' and should be in sentence case (only capitalise proper nouns).

The journal title should be in italics and every word should be capitalised (except for words like the, an, a, and etc).

The page range is the start and end page of the article

The date viewed online is the date that you viewed the article online - in other words, the date that you found the article in the online database, or the date that you last looked at the article online (not the date that you looked at the PDF you downloaded).



Document from a website

Note that if the author of the web document is a sub-body or subset of a larger organisation, you should include the name of the larger organisation after the title of the web document (as per the above example).