Harvard: citing in-text

A version of the Harvard (author-date) System of referencing has been adopted as the standard for the presentation of academic text at the University of Birmingham.  The examples on this page refer to this version, as found on the Cite Them Right Online website.  For detailed guides on how to reference and cite different sources see the right-hand side panel.

What to put in your text 

The author's surname and year of publication are inserted in the text wherever a source is cited. The way this is done will depend on whether the author's name occurs naturally in the sentence or not.

Using this method of referencing, the in-text citations in your work must be included in the final word count. In-text citations give brief details of the source that you are quoting from or referring to. These citations will then link to the full reference that will be found in your reference list at the end of your work. The reference list is always arranged in alphabetical order by author. If you have cited a work in an appendix, but not in the main body of your text, this should still be included in the reference list.  The list of references is not included in the word count.

Footnotes and endnotes are NOT used in this style.

There are many ways in which citations can be used in your work, but your tutor or supervisor should advise you on which format they prefer.

Your citations should always include the following elements;

(i)            Author(s) or editor (s) surname/family name

(ii)           Year of publication

(iii)          Page number(s) if required

If you have used a direct quote or an idea from a specific page, or set of pages, you should include the page numbers in your citations. The abbreviation for page is p. or pp. for multiple pages. See the examples below to see how they are used correctly.

  • According to Guy (2001, p. 37), the Zulus faced many grave dangers when confronting the British…
  • It is maintained that medicine has improved (Jones, 1985, p. 74)


Citing one author/editor

  • In his novel (Stevens, 2013)…

Citing a corporate author

  • … as shown by the decrease in ratings (ITV, 2014).

 Citing two authors/editors

  • Banerjee and Watson (2011, p. 87) suggested…
  • It is clear (Banerjee and Watson, 2011, p. 87) that…

Citing three authors/editors

  • It was evident (Smith, Jones and Thomas, 2015)…

 Citing four or more authors/editors

Cite the first name listed in the source followed by et al.

  • This was proved by Dym et al. (2009)…

Citing a source with no author/editor

Use the title in italics; do NOT use ‘anonymous’ or anything similar.

  • It is maintained that medicine has greatly improved (Medicine in old age, 1985, p. 74)…

Citing multiple sources

These can be listed separated by semicolons. The publications should be cited in chronological order. If more than one work is published in the same year, then they should be listed alphabetically by author/editor.

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

Citing sources - same year/same author

In his study of the work of Dawkins, Harris (2007a) emphasised the use of rationality in the former’s argument. However, it is clear that this was not the only strength of the original author (2007b).

The reference list would look like this;

       Harris, S. (2007a) Dawkins: a history. London: Evolutionary Press.

       Harris, S. (2007b) Evolutionary thought. London: Evolutionary Press.

Citing the same work, different editions

Separate the dates of publication with a semicolon with the earliest date first.

  • In both editions (Hitchens, 2010; 2012)…

Citing a source with no date

Use the phrase ‘no date’.

  • The evidence (Stevens and Jubb, no date) was clear.

Citing a source with no author or date

Use the title and ‘no date’.

  • Thunderstorms have become increasingly common (Trends in atmospheric pressure, no date)…

Citing a web page

When citing a web page, it should follow these guidelines;

  • By Author and date (where possible)
  • By title and date if there is no identifiable author
  • Or by URL if neither author nor title can be identified

The latest survey by health professionals (http://www.onlinehealthsurvey.org, 2012) reveals that… 

Source quoted in another work 

You may wish to refer to an author’s idea, model or dataset but have not been able to read the actual chapter containing the information, but only another author’s discussion or report of it. Similarly, you may refer to a primary source, e.g. an author’s letters or diary, or a government report, that you have only ‘read’ as cited or reproduced within another author’s text. In both cases you should acknowledge the use of a secondary source.

"The model of Mitchell (1996) (cited in Parry and Carter, 2003, p.160) simulates the suppressing effects of sulphate aerosols on the magnitude of global warming."

In this example ideally you should list both the Parry and Carter (2003) and Mitchell (1996) sources in your reference list but many schools will accept the listing of the secondary source (i.e. Parry and Carter) only.


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