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Guide to The Harvard Referencing Style

Introduction to the Harvard Style

Every scholarly discipline has a preferred format or style of referencing their publications. This guide outlines a widely accepted form used in the business and social fields called the Harvard, or author-date system.

The Harvard system is made up of 3 components:

  • Citation- provides brief details of the author and date of publication for referencing the work in the body of the text.
  • Reference list- an alphabetical list at the end of the essay or assignment of all references cited in your work with additional details provided to identify each source.
  • Bibliography- a more comprehensive list of sources used to research your assigment, including those not cited within the text. Documents are referenced in the same way as in a reference list.


A citation should be used within the text of your work if you:

  • use a direct quote from someone else's work
  • summarise or paraphrase someone else's work

Details provided are brief and include the author's surname, the year of publication and the page number.

e.g. According to Reilly (2006, p. 66) theories are tested by sample statistics.

Reference list

There are a number of details that can be included in a reference depending on the type of source (i.e. a book, journal, conference paper etc). As many of the following items as possible should be included:

  • Author(s) or editor(s) full name or the group/body/organisation responsible
  • Title of article or chapter
  • Name of journal, periodical or book
  • Edition
  • Publisher’s name
  • Place of publication (for a book)
  • Year of publication
  • Volume number (for journal)
  • Issue number (for journal)
  • Page numbers

Examples including punctuation


Reilly, J. (2006) Using Statistics. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Print journal article

Randler, C. (2010) 'The early bird really does get the worm' , Harvard Business Review, 88 (7/8), pp. 30-31.

Government publications

Ireland. Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (2009) Future Skills Requirements of the Food and Beverage Sector. Dublin: Forfas.


Guy, P. D. (2009) As Mirrors are lonely: a lacanian reading of three Irish novelists. Unpublished PhD thesis. Tallaght Institute of Technology.

Citing electronic resources

Electronic sources can include web pages, online journals, cd-roms, email etc. It can be quite difficult to reference these sources as the details provided can vary dramatically but as many of the following as possible should be included:

  • Name of author or editor
  • Title of the page (look in the bar at the top of your browser)
  • Title of the site (go to the sites homepage)
  • Date page, last update or copyright date
  • The full URL of the web page
  • The date you accessed the page
  • Any other details that might help someone find the page


Web site

MABS (2010) A Guide to Managing your Money and Dealing with Debt. Available at (Accessed: 07 October 2010)

Journal article

Myers, M.P., Yang, J. & Stampe, P. (1999) 'Visualization and functional analysis of a maxi-K channel (mSlo) fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP)', EJB: Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, vol. 2, no. 3, [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 21 May 2002).

Other resources

  • The library holds a number of books on referencing. The following title is very useful and uses the Harvard system:

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2010) Cite Them Right: the essential referencing guide. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

There are copies in the general collection and in the reference collection at 808/PEA

  • Alternatively, you could use other online resources such as:



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