Harvard referencing in essays

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1. Some subjects adopt the Author-Date method of referencing – which is also known as the Harvard referencing system. Full details of the texts you have quoted are placed in a bibliography at the end of an essay. These details are recorded in the following order:

Author – Date – Title – Place – Publisher

Smith, John. (1988) The Weavers’ Revolt, Chicago, Blackbarrow Press.

2. References in your text give the surname of the author, plus the publication date of the work to which reference is being made. This information is placed in brackets – thus:

Some research findings (James and Smith 1984; Brown 1987) have argued that these theories are not always reliable.

3. When you wish to draw attention to a particular page, this is done by simply adding the page number directly after the date of publication:

The development of these tendencies during the 1960s have been discussed by Brown (1977,234) and others (Smith 1992,180 and Jones 1993,88-90).

4. Note that when the author’s name is given in your text, it should not be repeated in the reference. You should simply give the date, then the page number(s). When you give the author’s name, the reference should either follow it directly, or it may come at some other point in the same sentence:

Smith (1987,166) argues that this was …
Smith, who is more positive on this issue, argues (1987,166) that …

5. If two or more works by the same author have the same publication date, they should be distinguished by adding letters after the date. (This can be quite common with journal articles.):

Some commentators (Mansfield 1991b and Cooper 1988c) have argued just the opposite case, that …

6. The list of texts which appears at the end of your essay should be arranged in alphabetical order of the author’s surname. The list differs from a normal bibliography in that the date of publication follows the author’s name:

Mansfield, M.R.1991a. ‘Model Systems of Agriculture in Early Britain’ Local History Journal Vol XX, No 6 ,112-117.

Mansfield, M.R.1991b. ‘Agriculture in Early Britain’, History Today Vol 12, No 3, 29-38.


Beeton, I. 1991 Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Chancellor Press.

Best, G. 1979 Mid-Victorian Britain 1851-75, Fontana.

Burman, S. 1979 (ed), Fit Work for Women, Croom Helm.

Darwin, E. 1890 ‘Domestic Service’, The Nineteenth Century, Vol.28, August.

Davidoff, L. 1973 The Best Circles, Croom Helm.

Davidoff, L. 1974 ‘Mastered for Life: Servant and Wife in Victorian and Edwardian England’, Journal of Social History, Vol.7.

Davidoff, L. 1987 and Hall, C., Family Fortunes, Hutchinson.

[…and so on]

© Roy Johnson 2003

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