Citing using the Harvard style

When, in your work, you use an idea from a book, journal article, etc., you must acknowledge this in your text. This is referred to as ‘citing'.

Citing in the body of your text

When you insert a citation using the Harvard style you must always state the author/editor and the year of publication. If the work has two authors/editors you must include both names.

If you cannot identify a clear date of publication, you need to indicate in your citation and full reference that there is no date of publication. This should be done by using the phrase ‘no date’ in place of the year in your citation (and in the full reference); the abbreviation ‘n.d.’ is also acceptable.

You do not need to include the title, place of publication, etc.; the full details of the work are written in your reference list.

The following examples illustrate the different methods of writing an in-text citation. Your writing style will influence how references are cited in your text.


Include the author’s surname followed by the year of publication in parentheses.  

Lave and Wenger (1991) provide an explanation of the situated nature of learning. 

Include the author’s surname followed by the year of publication in parentheses at an appropriate point in your text. This is often at the end of the sentence. 

The situated nature of learning is a centrally understood fact (Lave & Wenger, 1991). 

 A recent study investigated the effectiveness of using Google Scholar to find medical research (Henderson, 2005).


  Henderson (2005) has investigated the effectiveness of Google Scholar in finding medical research.

If the work has 2 or 3 authors, include all names in your citation. For more than 3 authors, see Citing 4 or more authors.

  Recent research indicates that the number of duplicate papers being published is increasing (Arrami & Garner, 2008).

  Evidence shows that providing virtual laboratory exercises as well as practical laboratory experience enhances the learning process (Barros, Read & Verdejo, 2008).

If the work has 4 or more authors/editors the abbreviation ‘et al' should be used after the first author's name. It is also acceptable to use 'et al' after the first author if the work has three authors.

  Social acceptance of carbon capture and storage is necessary for the introduction of technologies (van Alphen et al., 2007).

If you cite a new work which has the same author and was written in the same year as an earlier citation, you must use a lower case letter after the date to differentiate between the two.

  Communication of science in the media has increasingly come under focus, particularly where reporting of facts and research is inaccurate (Goldacre, 2008a; Goldacre, 2008b).

Some books may contain chapters written by different authors. When citing work from such a book, the author who wrote the chapter should be cited, not the editor of the book.

If you need to cite a piece of work which does not have an obvious author, you should use what is called a ‘corporate' author. For example, many online publications will not have individually named authors, and in many cases the author will be an organisation or company.

  A national strategy is creating a framework to drive improvements in dementia services (Department of Health, 2009).

If you are unable to find either a named or corporate author, you should use ‘Anon' as the author name. Be careful: if you cannot find an author for online work, it is not a good idea to use this work as part of your research. It is essential that you know where a piece of work has originated, because you need to be sure of the quality and reliability of any information you use.

If you need to cite a multimedia work, you would usually use the title of the TV programme (including online broadcasts) or video recording, or title of the film (whether on DVD or video) as the author. If a video is posted on YouTube or other video-streaming web services then you should reference the person who uploaded the video (this might be a username).

CD-ROMs (including electronic books on CD-ROM): if there is not an obvious author use the title of the CD-ROM as the author.

DVD/Video: the series title should be used as the author.

Always use the surname of the interviewee/practitioner as the author.

If a direct quote from a book, article, etc., is used you must:

  • Use single quotation marks (double quotation marks are usually used for quoting direct speech)
  • State the page number

  Simons et al state that the principle of effective stress is ‘imperfectly known and understood by many practising engineers' (2001:p.4).

You should provide an in-text citation for any images, illustrations, photographs, diagrams, tables or figures that you reproduce in your work, and provide a full reference as with any other type of work.

They should be treated as direct quotes in that the author(s) should be acknowledged and page numbers shown; both in your text where the diagram is discussed or introduced, and in the caption you write for it.

In-text citation:

  Table illustrating checklist of information for common sources (Pears and Shields, 2008:p.22).

Full reference:

   Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2008) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 3rd ed. Durham, Pear Tree Books.

In-text citation:

   ‘Geological map of the easternmost region of São Nicolau' (Ramalho et al, 2010:p.532).

Full reference:

   Ramalho, R., Helffrich, G., Schmidt, D.N. and Vance, D. (2010) Tracers of uplift and subsidence in the Cape Verde archipelago. Journal of the Geological Society. 167 (3), 519-538. Available from: doi:10.1144/0016-76492009-056 [Accessed: 14th June 2010]

Secondary references are when an author refers to another author's work and the primary source is not available. When citing such work the author of the primary source and the author of the work it was cited in should be used.

  According to Colluzzi and Pappagallo (2005) as cited by Holding et al (2008) most patients given opiates do not become addicted to such drugs.

Secondary referencing should be avoided wherever possible and you should always try to find the original work. If it is not possible to obtain the original work, reference the secondary source, not the primary source. Only reference the source that you have used.

To cite more than one piece of work in the same sentence, include the citation for each piece of work. A semi colon (;) should be used separate the citations.

The following is an example where 2 or more works have been cited in the same place in the text.

  There have been investigations the effectiveness of Google Scholar in finding medical research (De Groote & Raszewski, 2012; Henderson, 2005)