Harvard Style Guide

The Harvard style is one of the most popular styles of writing. It includes in-text, bibliography, and reference writing. It has gained recognition as a guide in formatting and editing academic publications over the years. It is also referred to as the author-date method. The Harvard style requires an author to acknowledge a source of information in two distinct ways: in-text citations and a list of references.

In-text Citations

In-text referencing refers to when the author cites information that has been gathered from a source by mentioning the author and date of publication. There are several ways to establish the sources of information provided in the manuscript. One way is where the author and date of publication are cited. The Harvard style provides the author with the liberty to paraphrase or summarize information from the source. It also provides that page numbers be included for the convenience of reference by readers.

Reference List

Harvard style of referencing stipulates that the reference list should appear at the end of the document and should entail all the provisions from all the sources cited in the document. The list should follow a chronological order of the author’s surnames. In the instance that there are two or more works from one author, the writer should list them according to date, starting with the latest one. 

Citations Rules

Some rules should be observed when formatting citations. When referencing the author, the names of the individual should begin, without full stops or spaces between the initials. Titles and chapter headings should be italicized with minimal capitalization. Different details of a citation are separated using commas and a full stop at the end of the citation.

When it comes to citing electronic sources, the Harvard style stipulates that one should cite the date when the source was accessed, the electronic address or email address, and the type of electronic source. Whenever there is a direct quotation of the words of the author, the page number is included in references. If books and journals are referred to in the manuscript, a bibliography is provided with publication details in it, observing an alphabetical order. This makes tracing a reference easier and helps maintain neatness and order.


Students using this style of referencing are protected from plagiarism charges by acknowledging the original ideas sourced from external work. Proper referencing shows that an individual has properly read and therefore acknowledges the author of the text.


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