Harvard (author date)

The Harvard (author-date) system is comprised of two elements: an in-text citation and a bibliography at the end of the document. In the text of an assignment, ideas taken from other people are indicated by placing the author's surname and the date of publication in brackets. The bibliography at the end of the document then lists the references in alphabetical order by author's surname.

NOTE: Some of the examples below and in the links above have been invented by Library Services staff members.

Quick Guide to Harvard (author- date) Referencing

A basic guide to citing and referencing using the Harvard (author-date) system. For more detailed examples go to our A-Z guide or Cite Them Right Online

Citing in text

A citation is an abbreviated indication of the source(s) you have used in text. Use the author(s)' or editor(s)' family name and date of publication.

Examples of citing in text

  • One Author/Editor: (Stevens, 2013)
  • Two Authors/Editors: (Banerjee and Watson, 2011)
  • Three Authors/Editors: (Smith, Jones and Thomas, 2015)
  • Four or more Authors/Editors: Cite the first name listed in the source followed by et al. For example, This was proved by Dym et al. (2009)...
  • No Author/Editor: Use the title in italics; do not use 'anonymous' or anything similar, for example, It is maintained that medicine has greatly improved (Medicine in old age, 1985, p.74)...
  • No Author and no Date: Use the title and 'no date'. For example, Thunderstorms have become increasingly common (Trends in atmospheric pressure, no date)... 
  • Citing multiple sources: If you want to refer to two or more sources at the same time, separate them with semi-colons and order them chronologically. If more than one work is published in the same year, then they should be listed alphabetically by author/editor. For example:

A number of different studies (Jamieson, 2011; Hollingworth, 2012; Hatfield, 2013; Rogers, 2015) suggested that...

  • Citing sources published in the same year by the same author: If you wish to cite an author who has published more than one item in the same year, use a lower case letter to distinguish between them. The letters should be included in the reference list. For example, 

Peate (2014a) dicusses changes to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code of Conduct and the implications this has for nurses and midwives. In a later article Peate (2014b) criticises the NMC's decision to increase the registration fee  for nurses...

  • Page numbers

When you are directly quoting exact text, or paraphrasing a specific part of a text, then you should also give the relevant page number(s) in your in-text citation.  See the example above for “No author/Editor”.

The pagination for the whole item (for example with a journal article, or for a chapter in an edited book) should then be given as usual in the reference list at the end.


A reference gives the full details of the brief citation you have referred to in the text and is shown at the end of your essay. A reference will include authors, titles, editions, publisher details or journal details. 

Examples of references 

  • Authors/ Editors: All authors'/ editors' names should be listed in your reference list (no matter how many there are)


Author/Editor, initials(s). Year of publication (in round brackets) Title in italics. Edition (if not the first edition). Place of publication: Publisher. Series and volume number (where relevant). 

  • One Author: Guy, J. (2001) The view across the river: Harriette Colenso and the Zulu struggle against imperialism. Charlottesville, Virginia: University Press of Virginia.
  • Two Authors:  Banerjee, A. and Watson, T.F. (2011) Pickard's manual of operative denistry. 9th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Three or more Authors: List all the authors (no matter how many there are) and always serperate the final two authors with and as shown below.

Dym, C.L., Little, P., Orwin, E.J., and Spjut, R.E (2009) Engineering design: a project based introduction. 3rd edn. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

  • Edited Book: Jordan, J. and Sharp, I. (eds) (2003) Josephine Butler and the prostitution campaigns : diseases of the body politic. Vol. 1: The moral reclaimability of prostitutes. London: Routledge. 
  • Chapter in a Book: Sparkes, V. (2010) 'Function of the spine', in Everett, T.and Kell, C. (eds) Human movement: an introductionary text. 6th edn. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston Elsevier, pp.191-209.
  • Ebook: Hislop, V. (2014) The Sunrise. Available at http://www.amazon.co.uk/kindlestore (downloded:17 June 2015).


Journal (Print) 

Author, Initial(s). (Year) Title of article (in single quotation marks), Title of Journal (in italics), Volume (unbracketed) and, where applicable, Number issue/part number (in brackets), page numbers.

Knapik, J.J., Cosio-Lima, L.M., and Reynolds, K.L. (2015) 'Efficacy of functional movement and screening for predicting injuries in coast guard cadets', The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29 (5), pp. 1157-1162.

Journal (Electronic)

Same information as above, but if doi available include at the end of the reference.

Wildman, S. (2009) 'Nursing and the issue of 'party' in the church of England: the case of the Lichfield Diocesan Nursing Association', Nursing Inquiry, 16, pp. 94-102. doi:1111/j.1440-1800.2009.00441.x.

Web Pages

Web pages with an author 

Snow, D (2015) How did so many soldiers survive the trenches? Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3kgjxs (Accessed: 18 July 2015).

Web page- author as an organisation

BBC News (2014) 'Lights out' end of the day of WW1 centenary commemorations. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3kgjxshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28632223

Web page-no dates

BBC History (no date) Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historicfigures/wellingtondukeof.shtml (Accessed: 18 June 2015)

If you require any further help with referencing our Academic Skills Centre will be able to assist you with any help, advice or support you need. 





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