Harvard Style in Your Academic Papers

Ranked third in the United States, Harvard is one of the most sought-after universities in the world, but the path there is arduous and annoying. Once you get through all the challenges on the way to being matriculated in this institution, you’re a lucky one. Harvard isn’t all roses and sunshine. Even though it’s chocked full of neat options and more, there are some ugly warts. Graduating from this university is by far more complex problem than entering it. Like a box of chocolates, you never know where your scientific output is going to be unless you know exactly what you are doing. Why? Because one of the integral parts of any scientific work is writing style or so-called format of your work. The University of Harvard has established its own formatting style known as Harvard style formatting.

Along with the University of Harvard itself, the writing style of the same name is popular among students and scientists from many other educational institutions in the United States. This format was introduced to let the writers and researchers organize their projects consistently or harmoniously. It was developed to cite properly a passage from; to name the source as the authority for a statement or an opinion, to incorporate the quotes of distinguished authors in one’s own work, to validate one’s results without harming the intellectual property, and to avoid plagiarism.

In this post, you will find everything you need to know about Harvard writing style: from citations to footnotes and endnotes.

Introduction to the Harvard Style Guide

Even though Harvard University recommends citing your sources using this very style, there are disciplines less open to the deviations than others:

  • Political science
  • Sociology
  • Humanities
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Business disciplines

This writing style requires the parenthetical type of referencing system. Just like any other academic writing format, Harvard style is made up of two main elements, such as in-text citations and reference page.

These blocks may look different and appear in different places of your paper, but they serve the same purpose — to acknowledge the authors of the sources you’ve cited while conducting your assignment. Simply put, according to the Harvard style guide, each time you insert a reference, you should specify the reference’s details. In doing so, you let the readers know where the information comes from. Further still, this will make your work persuasive in the eyes of your readership, and help them delve into different dimensions of your study.

It’s impossible to ignore counterpoints offered by other scientists while writing your research paper. That is when the need of your quotes being formatted properly shows up.

Harvard Citation Style: Quoting Sources

As already pointed out, in-text citations are an integral part of the Harvard format. They can be either direct or indirect. When you insert a direct one, copy-paste the phrase or lines you want to share with your readers to defend your point of view or oppose something. Such quotations are not considered plagiarism when cited appropriately. As for the indirect quotes, the part of the text planned to used in your work should be paraphrased. Still, the approach is the same.

Harvard in-text citations should include such details about the source as the author’s last name and the publication date. It would suffice to add a quote to your text. The source info goes into the brackets next to the cited text. To name the authority, share his or her surname and the publication date (typically, the year alone would do). That goes in parentheses at the end of the sentence that contains the quote. These details help the audience find out the source info at the end of your work, on the references page.

The specimen of the Harvard citation style should serve as your handy first red flag when crafting your research paper. If you think that everything looks perfect, make sure to accommodate the following:

  • Skills necessary to solve these issues may develop over time thanks to the constant training (Vader & Brown, 2013).
  • Green, Thomson, and Rhymes (2015) suggest decreased penalties in case of successful test scores.
  • According to Emilie Donovan (2012, p. 13), “freshman 15” in teen slang today refers to nothing but “a first-year college student who tends to gain weight because of the studies and new living conditions.”

In the first example, you can see the direct in-text citation meaning the writer did not change the words of the original. In the second case, you can see a paraphrased version of the text, meaning indirect citation is in question. The writer is not speaking from the original perspective and prefers third-person narrative instead.

The last one from the Harvard citation style examples when the page number with the selected quote is known. It is better to stick to this format each time you know the page number to help the reader find the quotation faster and read the passage of interest instead of observing the entire piece of writing. It also proves that you have indeed read the sources that contributed to your research.

Some students wonder whether the citations should be included in the total word count or not. According to the official guide, you should add the in-text citations to the final word count. However, you should not overload your work with them. The text should contain minimum 95% of the original content.

Still, consult Harvard style citation guide for any current updates before pulling your fingers out.

Harvard Style Referencing for Bibliography

In the Harvard reference style, inserting citations alone is not enough to name the authority. The reference list should contain the entire data regarding your quoted sources. The list of sources appears in the alphabetical order by writer’s last name. In case you use quoting appendix instead of the main body, such a source should be placed on the reference page as well. It should be noted that the reference page is excluded from the total word count. Pay attention to the length of your project’s main part.

The list of references helps your readership allocate every single source in your essay or find it on the Web to keep on researching. In most cases, the writer’s surname and publication date are enough to discover the source online, but, still, the entire information is required if you want to gain the trust of your audience.

The way you reference source and elements you include while describing it depend on the type of source. You should mention the author’s name, the publication date, title of the work, and its publisher. However, supplementary information about the source may vary depending on what you cite.

On the whole, care to mention the following anchors in your reference entry:

  • Author’s name and last name;
  • Date of publication (a year or full date if known);
  • Title of the work;
  • Where published;
  • Publisher’s name;
  • Cited pages (if available).

You can use this template if you like:

Surname, first name’s initial. (Year published). Title. City/Town: Publisher’s Name, Page(s) Cited.

Here are some of the Harvard referencing style examples of reference page entries to make you understand it better:

  1. Rose, J., and Reeves, M. (2014) Recent findings in the field of social science. 5th end. Maidenhead: Harvard University Press.
  2. Jefferson, L. (2015). Maximum Ride in Beverly Hills. New York: Little, Brown.
  3. Harris, A. (2016). The Impact of Human Appearance on Its Behavior and Actions. Philosophy Today, 47(3), pp. 187-196.

The examples above do not mean that students should use only Harvard publications and journals when doing research. Those are just examples to let you see the way you should include the entries.

Harvard Style Footnotes vs. Harvard Style Endnotes

Some students are searching endlessly for the examples of Harvard footnotes or Harvard endnotes. They usually have no luck in doing so for one good reason. They do not use endnotes or footnotes in Harvard format.

Anyway, just to let you know, a footnote, as well as endnote, is a reference to a source used by a student. In a case with Harvard style footnotes, a learner has to specify the cited text by adding a so-called identifier. That is a small number that sits slightly above the line of text. Harvard style endnotes imply mentioning the same source in the very end of the writing.

As far as these two elements are not present in Harvard format, you should not worry about them.

If you want to ensure both perfect formatting and content, you can always rely on our professional guidelines and be confident in getting the best results! Follow our advice and succeed!