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Harvard Style Guide: Introduction

This guide explains how to use the Harvard Style. It includes a short tutorial.

Harvard Style what is it?

Harvard Style Guide image

Academic writing requires authors to support their arguments with reference to other published work or experimental results/findings. A reference system will perform three essential tasks:

  • enable you to acknowledge other authors’ ideas (avoid plagiarism).
  • enable a reader to quickly locate the source of the material you refer to so they can consult it if they wish.
  • indicate to the reader the scope and depth of your research.

The Harvard style is a widely used referencing system to help you achieve these objectives.

How do I use the Harvard Referencing Style?

The Harvard style involves two tasks:

  • how you refer to other authors in the body of your text (in-text citation).
  • how you compile a list of reference sources at the end of your text (reference list)

In this guide we show how common reference types should look in your reference list along with an example. Immediately following this will be two samples of how that reference should appear as an in-text citation.

If the exact reference type you are looking for is not shown in this guide, look for one similar and follow the same rules. Alternatively consult the book “Cite them Right,” by Richard Pears and Graham Shields which is available in UCD Library.

Harvard style - what does it look like?

Here is an example of what a In-Text-Citation looks like in the Harvard Style

It has been claimed that due to funding being almost exclusively available from the Irish Film Board (IFB), Irish film makers are restricted to the type of Ireland they can depict in their work (MacDougall, 2009). Jervir (2011) argues that subjects such as Northern Ireland are disproportionately represented as these are key areas of interest to the IFB.

Here is an example of what a Reference List looks like in the Harvard Style

Hayes, B. C., McAllister, I. and Dowds, L. (2011) 'Depicting Ireland on film, what are we really saying?', Social Cinema Journal, 54(4), pp. 454-482.

Jervir, C. E. O. (2010) 'Symbolic violence, resistance and how we view ourselves in Irish film', World Cinema, 37(6), pp. 392-407.

MacDougall, H. (2009) 'Who needs Hollywood?: The role of popular genre films in Irish national cinema', The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 35(1), pp. 39-46.

Moriarty, D. (2012) Funding models for Irish film makers. Dublin: Collins Press.


Harvard Style Quotation

The Harvard Style dictates that when using another's exact words, known as direct quotation, then those words must be placed in inverted commas/quotation marks ('' or "") followed by an in-text citation that includes the Author Last name, Year and page numbers. Inverted commas/quotation marks can be single or double, simply be consistent or check with your lecturer/school. 

For materials without page numbers, such as eBook, it is acceptable to use other indications of location such as chapters, paragraph numbers or section headings etc.. See short and long quotations see example below.

Short quotations

Short quotations are generally held to be two or three lines in length. They are kept within the structure of the sentence in which they appear. An example of a short direct quotation would be

Example 1

It was reported that 'findings show children have a high level of enjoyment, while exercising with the system as indicated by the positive responses to all three questions' (Fitzgerald et al., 2008, p. 66).

Example 2

Moran (2012) describes how "mental simulation processes such as motor imagery are crucial to success in sports," particularly in high performance athletes (para. 4).

Example 3

Downes (2012, p. 6) studied the development of "selective attention skills" in pre-school children with sickle cell disease.

Long quotations

Long quotations are generally held to be longer than three lines. These are laid out in a separate paragraph of text and indented. No inverted commas/quotation marks are included. An example of a long quotation would be

In their research on rehabilitation using Wobbleballs, Fitzgerald and her team conclude that:

The fourth question collected some feedback from children and while most provided positive comments a small number of children (n=13) mentioned that the wobble board was “difficult to control” or “hard to use”. We must therefore investigate some easier methods to control the game as an option for some children. Future research is needed to investigate the benefits of the system as an exercise intervention for children and to examine how training using Wobbleball could be integrated into the existing physical education curriculum in schools. (Fitzgerald et al., 2008, p. 66)

Quoting ideas

If you are including the ideas of another person from a specific page range or page in a source, rather than direct quotation, Harvard also requires you to include a page number. Your quote would look something like this

In the review it was noted that research shows open plan office spaces damage workers' attention span, creativity and satisfaction (Davis et al., 2011, p. 22).

If you are unclear as to when to include a page number when quoting ideas, discuss this with your lecturer or tutor. Bring along examples to show them.

Quotation - over use and plagiarism

Too much direct quotation from original sources, with less critical analysis from the writer can lead to accusations of plagiarism, even if full citations and references are provided. 

It is important that quotations are used only when absolutely necessary to the content. Otherwise, it is preferable to paraphrase and interpret the information you are discussing and use your critical analysis skills.

Harvard style quotation and first year (undergraduate or postgraduate)

Finally, because the Harvard Style does not have a manual of style with exact rules, always discuss with your lecturer or module coordinator what their expectations are around quotation, citing and referencing. Show them the advice on this guide, and clarify if they expect any alternative writing practices. This is especially important for first year students or those beginning a course/module.

Harvard Style - printable version

UCD School Citing Styles

UCD School Citing Styles

See the guidance given by your School on which style to use.

Recommended read

Harvard Tutorial