Referencing is the process of citing or documenting the sources of theories, quotes, ideas and diagrams used in writing university assignments. There are several styles of referencing, to mention a few we have APA, Chicago, MLA, Harvard etc.

The Harvard Style of referencing is used to give credit to the authors of the evidence used in writing to support arguments primarily. How the system works, how sources are to be referenced and some other useful information on how the Harvard style of referencing works is given below:

Functions of a Bibliographical Reference

  • It admits and gives credit to the work of others for playing a major role in the development of your work.
  • It specifies that you have given thought to the appropriate authorities and linked a connection with your work.
  • A bibliographical reference should accommodate enough information for both you and third parties to uncover the information source you have used to build up your work.
  • It clarifies the fact that you have not used someone else’s idea to develop your work and claim it as your own.

The Elements of the Harvard Referencing System

The Harvard referencing system is comprised of two main components. The first component considered is the In-text referencing. The in-text referencing style is employed when directly quoting or paraphrasing an external source. The external source can be a book, journal, web page etc. The author’s family name and the year of publication of the information source will be entered. If the evidence/fact is culled from a quote, the page number where the fact can be found in the source should be specified.

The reference list which is imprecisely referred to as a Bibliography works simultaneously with the in-text referencing. The reference list contains the full bibliographical details of the book that the evidence/fact was culled. It is alphabetically arranged by the author’s last name and the publication year. The in-text reference details can be looked up in the reference list with other details.
The Harvard Referencing Style is the most commonly used style by University students worldwide. The guidelines stated endorse a version taken from the British Standard.

The Harvard style is the most commonly used style of referencing worldwide. The following guidelines recommend a version taken from the British Standard.

The following can be included:

  • A full bibliography – An alphabetically arranged list of all the sources of information consulted for the research.
  • A reference list – An alphabetical list of all the citations that are present in your work.
    There are details below on the information that should be included in your citations. The formatting and layout should be as shown, variation may exist but consistency should be ensured throughout your work:

Books (written by one or more authors)

Obtain the information from the title page and the reverse of the title page:
FAMILY NAME, INITIAL(S). Year. Title. City of publication: Publisher
ADAMS, A. D. 1906. Electric transmission of waterpower. New York: McGraw

Books (edited)

Write (ed) or (eds) after the editor’s name(s):
FAMILY NAME, INITIAL(S). (ed). Year. Title. City of publication: Publisher
CRANDELL, K.A. (ed). 1999. The Evolution of HIV. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press

Books (electronic)

FAMILY NAME, INITIAL(S). Year. Title. City of publication: Publisher. [Date accessed].
Available from World Wide Web: <URL>
McROBBIE, A. 1998. British fashion design: rag trade or image industry? London:
Routledge. [Accessed 31 May 2006]. Available from World Wide Web:

Journal article

Use the title page of the journal volume or issue and the article:
FAMILY NAME, INITIAL(S). Year. Title of article. Journal title. Volume (issue number), page number of your quotation.
WALKER, J R. 1998. Citing serials: online serial publications and citation systems.
Serials-Librarian, 33 (3/4), pp.343-356.

N.B. Use p. to reference a single page, and pp. if it is a range of pages.