Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Harvard Style Guide: Quotation

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

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.

Quick Links

Creative Commons license