Accurate citations are crucial for research articles and can help you avoid accusations of plagiarism. Harvard's citation method and referencing style is the most widely used by college students and teachers in a variety of disciplines. This style adopts an “author, date” method that is simple and easy to use. If you want to use it to make an appointment, you will only need the author's last name followed by the year of publication of his work in parentheses.
Method 1 of 3: Include in-text citations
Step 1. Put the year in parentheses if you are going to include the author's name in the text
Generally speaking, when citing the author of a work referenced in the text of your article, you don't need to include all the publication information. All you will need is the name of the author and the year of publication of their work.
For example, if you want to cite a book on cupcakes written by Sunny Himmel and published in 2008, the text quote would be as follows: "According to Himmel (2008), chocolate cupcakes have outsold vanilla cupcakes in a ratio of two to one. "
Step 2. Put the entire quote in parentheses if you are going to place it at the end of a sentence
Sometimes it is not necessary to directly mention the author in a sentence, but it is necessary to cite the source if you are paraphrasing someone else's work.
- For example, if you want to cite a book on cinnamon rolls written by Suzy Sunshine and published in 2002, a parenthetical quote would be: "Cinnamon rolls were first created by a German baker in the 1800s (Sunshine, 2002) ".
- Note that in parenthetical citations, you generally separate the year of publication from the author's last name using a comma, rather than placing it in parentheses. This will make the quote look neater than it would if it were in parentheses.
- You can also use parenthetical quotes in the middle of a sentence (like at the end of a clause). Don't do it as often though, as this can disrupt the fluency of your writing and destroy readability.
Step 3. When citing multiple authors, do so in alphabetical order
In some situations, you may need to make a statement in the text that is supported or mentioned by several of your research sources. If applicable, include the authors in alphabetical order.
- If a single source has multiple authors, use the first one in alphabetical order. If you want to mention multiple authors in the text, separate their names using commas or the conjunction "and". For example, "According to Ambrose (2008), Burton (2002) and Childers (2011), baked goods can be eaten as a snack or as a dessert after a meal."
- In parenthetical citations, use the following "&" instead of the conjunction "and". Use a semicolon to separate multiple fonts, but avoid placing it before the "&" sign. For example: "(Ambrose, 2008; Burton, 2002 & Childers, 2011)".
Step 4. Include page numbers for direct citations
Sometimes you probably need to quote the direct words of an author you are referring to. Even when you mention his name in the text, the direct quote must be immediately followed by a quotation in parentheses that includes his name, the year of publication of the work and the exact page number where the quote appears.
- For example: "According to Sunshine (2004), 'vanilla cupcakes are the dessert of kings and queens' (Sunshine, 2004, p. 92)".
- Note that it is not necessary to include the page number if you are paraphrasing instead of quoting the text.
Step 5. Vary the in-text citation method
The goal is for the text to be legible and flow easily. If you quote all the verbatim using the same method, the wording will appear drab and crude. Read aloud if necessary to determine the method that sounds best for you.
- Generally, include an author's name in your text if you are citing them for a unique contribution they made to the discipline, or for unique information they provided. For example, the sentence "According to Himmel (2005), cupcakes are Princess Charlotte's favorite dessert" makes good use of an author's name in the text.
- If you are citing a reference to a more general basic fact, a quotation in parentheses at the end of the sentence will make more sense.
Step 6. Include specific phrases to alert readers to quotes or paraphrases
Words and phrases such as "acknowledge," "argue," and "agree with" tell the reader that a particular sentence comes from another author, not directly from you.
- An isolated quote will not always be enough to recognize the author of the work, especially if it appears at the end of the sentence.
- If the sentence is particularly long, you should probably mention the author in the same text, as well as include a quotation in parentheses at the end.
- For example, you can say the following: "Jane Holloway argues that cupcakes are currently the preferred birthday gift in the United States, surpassing the traditional cake (Holloway, 2013)".
Method 2 of 3: Cite Irregular Sources
Step 1. Use anonymous sources with caution
In your research work, you may find sources where no author is included. In the case of online sources, you can sometimes use the name of the company that produced the website, but in most cases, if you cannot identify the author, it is best not to use that source in your article.
- In general, if you cannot identify the author of a text, it will not be possible to know for sure how reliable or truthful the document is.
- On some topics, it may be impossible to avoid anonymous sources. This could be the case if, for example, you write an article on a sensitive topic, such as sexual abuse.
- In this case, write "Anonymous" in place of the author and include a comma before placing the date. For example: (Anonymous, 2001).
Step 2. Cite the full title of the laws and legal documents
While legal and legislative documents may have an individual author, it is more appropriate to include the name of the document and the year it was published.
- For example: "(Law of access to cupcakes, 2001)".
- If it is a memorandum, a departmental circular or other internal document, it is best to include the name of the department, office or organization as the author. For example: "(National Baked Goods Association, 2009)."
Step 3. Distinguish documents written by the same author and published in the same year
Some experts are prolific in their fields and throughout your research you should probably use multiple works by the same author. If several were published in the same year, add a lowercase letter after the year to distinguish them.
- For example: "(Sunshine, 2004a; Sunshine 2004b)".
- On the other hand, if you quote two authors with the same last name, you can usually distinguish them by including their first initial in the verbatim citations. For example: "(S. Sunshine, 2004; D. Sunshine, 2004)."
Step 4. Use secondary references in case a source is not available
Throughout your research, you may discover that an author you want to cite has cited the work of another. In most cases, try to find the original work referenced by the author. If not available, use secondary references.
For example, you can write the following: "According to Sally Sunshine (1892), as in the Sunny Himmel (2002) quote, cream cheese is the best glaze for cinnamon rolls."
Step 5. Include "et al" after the first author's name when you want to refer to more than 3 authors
Generally, if you are citing work by more than one author, include the last name of each in the citation. However, if there are four or more authors, you should only include the first one.
- For example, a book written by Ambrose, Burton, Childers, Duncan and Elder in 2004 would be cited as follows: "Ambrose et al (2004)".
- The abbreviation "et al" is Latin for "and others."
Step 6. Cite titles of multimedia works
For some types of documents, you will need to refer to a movie, TV show, or video. If you want to cite these sources using the Harvard style, include the name of the work followed by the year it was broadcast.
For example: (The Godfather, 1972)
Step 7. Treat quotes from images or illustrations as direct quotes
Some sources may include a diagram, table, graph, or other visual that you want to discuss in your article. Cite the work just as you would any other source, but add the page number on which the visual appears.
For example: "According to a graph made by Sunshine (2004), the choice of cupcakes is tremendously influenced by the taste of the frosting (Sunshine, 2004, p.92)"
Step 8. Cite corporate authors for websites
If you are going to use a website as a source, there is a possibility that the exact author of all the content is not included. In that case, you can generally refer to the company or organization that runs the website as the author.
For example: "Cupcake delivery is roughly twice as popular as pizza delivery, according to a study conducted by UberEats (UberEats, 2017)."
Method 3 of 3: Create Your Reference List
Step 1. Organize your bibliographic information as you conduct your research
In the text of your article, you will only need the author's last name and the year of publication to make the citation using the Harvard style. However, you will need a more detailed citation in the reference list.
- The easiest way to keep your fonts organized is to use a word processor or digital sticky notes. This will allow you to start a reference page and update it as you find new sources.
- You can also use software like Zotero to catalog the fonts.
- If you see something in the source that you want or need to quote directly, write the quote in the Word document along with the page number.
- Since you need to cite an image or illustration in the same way that you would a direct quote, also include those page numbers on your card along with a brief description of the image.
Step 2. Ask about specific formatting requirements
While the Harvard style is basically the same, some schools, departments, or professors may have specific requirements. This may include particular scoring requirements.
Step 3. Include the authors of your references in alphabetical order
Generally, a list of references is arranged alphabetically according to the authors' last name. In the case of multiple authors, sort them according to the last name of the first named author.
- In a reference list, include the first and last names of all authors unless there are more than four. In the event that there are more than four authors, include the first author followed by the abbreviation "et al." If you want to cite a book that includes chapters or sections written by different authors, include the title of that chapter or section that you used as the source for your article with the name of its particular author.
- If the name you are including is an editor rather than an author, add the abbreviation "ed." after the name.
Step 4. Include the date of publication or transmission in parentheses
In the case of books and other documents, you only need to include the year. If you want to cite a TV show or newspaper, include the specific publication date.
For example, if you want to cite an article in a newspaper, the author and date in the reference list should read: "Sunshine, Sally (January 2, 2014)". Keep in mind that some publishers or universities may prefer that you shorten the months of the year
Step 5. Italicize the main title of the document
After placing the date in parentheses, the next part of the citation in the reference list will be the title of the book or article that you want to cite as a source. Put a period after the document title, but don't include any punctuation marks (for example, a comma) between the author's name, the date, and the document title.
For example: "Sunshine, Sally (January 2, 2014) Cupcakes or death."
Step 6. Write down the published location and the name of the publisher
The next information you include in the reference list will be where the publisher is located, and then include the publisher's name. Check with your counselor or teacher to determine which abbreviations are appropriate for place names.
- If the publisher is in more than one place, use the first place included in the citation.
- For online sources, enclose the word "[online]" in brackets. Then type "Available in:" and enter the exact web address.
- For example: [online] Available at:
Step 7. Include the page numbers where the document is cited
If you use a book as a reference, the citation will usually end with the name of the publisher. However, in the case of magazines, newspapers or other sources that include many other articles that you will not cite, you will need to direct your readers to go to the specific page where the article appears.
- Put the page number at the end and write a "p." If you're citing a page range, write "pp."
- For example, write: Smith, Mallory (2015) Decadent desserts. London, Editorial Imagination. pp. 142-159
- If you found the source online, include a note in brackets at the end of the citation indicating the date you last accessed the online content.