HARVARD CITATION GENERATOR

THE HARVARD CITATION HANDBOOK

This simple outline provides an introduction to the Harvard author-date system of citations. It shows you how to format an essay and generate accurate in-text citations and bibliographies. 

It has been compiled by experts with extensive experience in citation systems. It includes our suggestions for best practices, but note that your professor or your institution might use slightly different guidelines than the ones presented here. You should always follow their recommendations. 

If you’ve been asked to use a different citation style, such as APA or MLA, then you can find expert guides for them across our site. Remember that, whatever style you choose, the most important thing is to be clear and consistent!

WHAT IS HARVARD REFERENCING? 

The Harvard system is not a formally recognized style. Rather, it is an umbrella term for various author-date citation systems. It uses in-text citations, in which the author and the publication date are typically recorded in parentheses (round brackets) in the text. The Harvard system is commonly used throughout the social, physical, and natural sciences.

HOW SHOULD I FORMAT A HARVARD ESSAY OR ARTICLE?

Clear formatting is an essential part of good academic style. Since there are no absolute rules for the Harvard system, you may see many variations in formatting. Different institutions and publishers tend to have their own specific preferences, so you should follow these if you’ve been asked to do so. Otherwise, stick to the guidelines below to ensure that your work is precise, professional and readable. As always, whatever formatting you use, be consistent throughout!

DOCUMENT FORMATTING

  1. Use a clear font such as Times New Roman.
  2. Keep your font size to 12pt.
  3. Use double spacing, unless you’ve been asked to use single spacing.
  4. Use 1-inch margins on all sides of your document. 
  5. Include page numbers on every page. It’s up to you where to place them, but we recommend the top-right corner of the header of every page.

PARAGRAPHING

Paragraphs are important as they impact the clarity of your argument. You should format them as follows:

  1. Begin all paragraphs with a ½-inch indent (otherwise known as a tab).
  2. Left-justify your paragraphs.

HEADERS AND TITLES

What you include in your header depends on your discipline, your institution, and your audience. For a college essay, we recommend including your name and course title in the top-left corner of the first page of your essay, followed by your essay title. The essay title should be centrally justified.

HOW TO GENERATE HARVARD AUTHOR-DATE CITATIONS

As with formatting, clear and consistent citations are a mark of good academic writing. To create accurate in-text citations, you can either use a Harvard referencing generator, such as the one provided by TypeCite, or you can form your citations manually. Whichever method you choose, you should then incorporate your citations into the body of your essay using what’s known as a parenthetical or a narrative citation.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARENTHETICAL AND NARRATIVE CITATIONS

A parenthetical citation contains the author’s surname and the publication year of the work you want to cite in parentheses. If you are citing a specific part of the work (for example, if you are quoting), then you should also include a page number. For example:

Evolutionary theorists have argued that “the fundamental unit of selection… is the gene, the unit of heredity” (Dawkins, 2016, p. 14).

A narrative citation weaves the author’s name into the flow of the paragraph. The publication year (and the page number if necessary) then follow the author’s name in parentheses. For example: 

Richard Dawkins (2016) has argued that the gene, rather than the individual or the species, is the unit of natural selection.

Note that, as these examples show, you need to cite your sources regardless of whether you paraphrase them or quote from them directly. These examples also show that there are multiple different ways in which you can combine the author’s name, the date, and the page number into a citation. The style you choose generally depends on your own writing and the flow of your argument, but your professor or institution may prefer one method or the other, so always follow their advice where appropriate. Check out these three ways of referring to the same source, all of which are correct:

Recently, researchers have emphasized the mutual dependence of culture and biology (Rutherford, 2018, p. 24).

Rutherford (2018) states the point plainly: “Biology enables culture, culture changes biology” (p. 24).

The idea that “biology enables culture” while “culture changes biology” is one that is often repeated nowadays (Rutherford, 2018, p. 24).

WORKS WITH TWO OR THREE AUTHORS

If two authors are associated with a source, then both of their surnames are included in parentheses, separated by “and”:

The application of mathematical principles to games of strategy led to the development of game theory (von Neumann and Morgenstern, 2007). 

As with single-author works, the authors’ names can also be incorporated into the flow of your prose, as in:

Von Neumann and Morgenstern (2007) were responsible for the development of game theory.

Works with three authors follow the same principle. Include the first two authors’ surnames separated by a comma, then use “and” before the third author’s surname, like so:

Psychotherapists must always take interpersonal factors into account (Tasca, Mikail and Hewitt, 2020).

WORKS WITH FOUR OR MORE AUTHORS

If four or more authors are associated with a publication, then the term “et al.” is used, written in italics. This is short for the Latin “et alia,” meaning: “and the rest.” Again, this term can be used in both parenthetical and narrative citations, as in the following examples:

Recent animal trials have suggested that cannabinoids would be a promising method for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (Ney et al., 2019).

Ney et al. (2019) have proposed cannabinoids as a possible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

TWO OR MORE WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR IN THE SAME YEAR

If you want to cite multiple works by the same author in the same year, use lowercase letters (a, b, c) after the publication year to differentiate between them:

The philosopher, Daniel Dennett, explores how biology influences the interpretation of texts (1990a), as well as how cultural memes can exploit people’s imaginative faculties (1990b).

HOW TO GENERATE A BIBLIOGRAPHY

At the end of your essay or article, you should include a “Bibliography,” or a list of “Works Cited.” A Harvard referencing tool such as the one at the top of this page can help you to generate these lists, but learning to do it manually will let you double-check that everything is correct!

BOOKS WITH A SINGLE AUTHOR

A printed book with a single author provides the basic structure for creating a long-form citation in a bibliography. There are many different variations on this, and these are outlined below. But understanding this basic model will help you adapt your citations as necessary. 

To form a bibliographic citation, begin by breaking your source down into its constituent parts. Then lay them out as follows:

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of Publication) Title. Edition if not the first. Place of Publication: Publisher.

For example:

Dawkins, R. (2016) The selfish gene. 40th Anniversary edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Note that, when creating a bibliographic citation in a Works Cited list, the aim is to make it easy for your reader to find the sources you’ve used. In general, therefore, you should include as much information as possible. That said, some elements may be unavailable, in which case they can be omitted. In the example above, an edition is given, but you do not need to include this if you are citing a first edition of a work. Subsequent editions will be clearly listed on a work’s copyright page. 

BOOKS WITH TWO OR THREE AUTHORS 

For works with two or three authors, include all of their names in your Works Cited list. Separate the names using commas, and include the word “and” between the penultimate and the final author, like so:

Tasca, G.A., Mikail, S.F. and Hewitt, P.L. (2020) Group psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

BOOKS WITH FOUR OR MORE AUTHORS 

For books with four or more authors, include the first author’s name, followed by et al., like so:

Young, H.D. et al. (2015) Sears and Zemansky’s university physics. San Francisco, CA: Addison-Welsley. 

BOOKS WITH AN EDITOR

The rules for citing books with editors are slightly different than those for citing books with authors. If you want to cite a book that only has one editor, then include the editor’s surname in your in-text citation. In your bibliography, list the work under the editor’s name, followed by “ed.” in parentheses:

An overview of the connections between film and literature is provided by Corrigan (2012).

Corrigan, T. (ed.) (2012) Film and literature: An introduction and reader. 2nd edn. London: Routledge.

If your book has an author and an editor, you should include the author’s name in both the main text and the bibliography. The bibliography entry should then contain the long-form “edited by,” followed by the editor(s) name(s), as follows:

According to Stephen Jay Gould, religious and scientific knowledge “do not overlap” (2007, p. 588)

Gould, S.J. (2007) The richness of life: The essential Stephen Jay Gould. Edited by P. McGarr and S. Rose. London: Vintage.

BOOKS WITH MORE THAN THREE EDITORS

When it comes to books with more than three editors, the same rules apply as with more than three authors. In your in-text citation, list the name of the first editor, followed by “et al.” like so:

Leitch et al. (2010) provide a comprehensive overview of literary theory.

In your bibliography, list every editor followed by the abbreviation “eds.” in round brackets:

Leitch, V.B. et al. (eds.) (2010) The Norton anthology of theory and criticism. 2nd edn. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.

OTHER TYPES OF SOURCES

Alongside books, some of the most common types of sources that you will have to cite are journal articles, book chapters, and websites. The following sections outline the bibliographic formula for each one, along with an example.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Journal articles take the following form in the bibliography:

Author Surname, Initial(s). Any Additional Author(s)’ Surname(s) and Initial(s) or et al. (Year) ‘Title of article’, Journal Title, Volume No.(Issue No.), pp. Pages. doi: or Available at: URL. (Accessed: Day Month Year).

As mentioned above, not every citation will have all of the elements listed in this example. These optional elements have been highlighted. An example journal article citation is as follows:

Ney, L.J. et al. (2019) ‘Cannabinoid interventions for PTSD: Where to next?’ Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 93, pp. 124-140. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.03.017. 

BOOK CHAPTERS

Book chapters are cited as follows:

Chapter Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year) ‘Chapter title’, in Editor(s) Surname(s), Initial(s) (ed(s).) Book title. Edition if not the first. Place of Publication: Publisher. pp. Pages.

For example:

Harris, J. (2010) ‘Pride and prejudice and Mansfield park’ in Copeland, E. and McMaster, J. (eds.) The Cambridge companion to Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 39-54.

WEBSITES

Harvard citations for websites are very simple. They adopt the following format:

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year) Title of webpage. doi: or Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).

For example:

Flood, A. (2020) ‘They’ beats ‘the’ to 2019’s word of the year. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/10/they-beats-the-2019-word-of-the-year-merriam-webster (Accessed: 22nd July 2020).

BIBLIOGRAPHY SUMMARY

The following table summarizes the basic format of bibliographic citations for all of the different sources outlined in this handbook. Note that it only includes examples for single-author works. For multi-author works, see the guidelines above.  

Source Type

Bibliographic Citation

Printed Book

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of Publication) Title. Edition if not the first. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Printed Book with Editor

Editor Surname, Initial(s). (ed.) (Year) Title. Edition if not the first. Place of Publication: Publisher. 

Journal Article

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year) ‘Title of article’, Journal Title, Volume No.(Issue No.), pp. Pages. doi: or Available at: URL. (Accessed: Day Month Year).

Printed Book Chapter

Chapter Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year) ‘Chapter title’, in Editor(s) Surname(s), Initial(s) (ed(s).) Book title. Edition if not the first. Place of Publication: Publisher. pp. Pages.

Website

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year) Title of webpage. doi: or Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).

HOW TO FORMAT A BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Begin your Works Cited list or Bibliography on a new page at the end of your essay. 
  2. List the authors alphabetically by surname.
  3. If you cite multiple works by the same author, list them from earliest to most recent publication date.
  4. Use lowercase letters (a, b, c) to refer to multiple publications from the same author in the same year.
  5. Left-justify your list, but indent subsequent lines of the same citation by 1 inch.

The following is a list of the works cited within this Harvard referencing guide. Feel free to use it to help you construct your own bibliographies!

WORKS CITED

Tasca, G.A., Mikail, S.F. and Hewitt, P.L. (2020) Group psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Corrigan, T. (ed.) (2012) Film and literature: An introduction and reader. 2nd edn. London: Routledge.

Dawkins, R. (2016) The selfish gene. 40th Anniversary edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Dennett, D. (1990a) ‘The interpretation of texts, people, and other artifacts’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 50(Supplement), pp. 177-94. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2108038 (Accessed: 23rd July 2020).

Dennett, D. (1990b) ‘Memes and the exploitation of the imagination’, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 48(2), pp. 127-35. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/430902 (Accessed: 23rd July 2020).

Flood, A. (2020) ‘They’ beats ‘the’ to 2019’s word of the year. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/10/they-beats-the-2019-word-of-the-year-merriam-webster (Accessed: 22nd July 2020).

Gould, S.J. (2007) The richness of life: The essential Stephen Jay Gould. Edited by P. McGarr and S. Rose. London: Vintage.

Harris, J. (2010) ‘Pride and prejudice and Mansfield park’ in Copeland, E. and McMaster, J. (eds.) The Cambridge companion to Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 39-54.

Leitch, V.B. et al. (eds.) (2010) The Norton anthology of theory and criticism. 2nd edn. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.

Ney, L.J. et al. (2019) ‘Cannabinoid interventions for PTSD: Where to next?’ Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 93, pp. 124-140. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.03.017. 

Rutherford, A. (2018) The book of humans: A brief history of culture, sex, war and the evolution of us. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Von Neumann, J. and Morgenstern, O. (2007). Theory of games and economic behavior. 60th Anniversary edn. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Young, H.D. et al. (2015) Sears and Zemansky’s university physics. San Francisco, CA: Addison-Welsley.

Tomas Elliott (Ph.D.)

Tomas Elliott is an assistant Professor of English at Northeastern University London. His research specialisms include the history of theatre and film, European modernism, world literature, film adaptation, transmedia studies and citation practices. He read English and French Literature at Trinity College, Oxford, before completing a PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania.