Cite Right: Harvard Style



Lex Academic’s Cite Right series aims to help you reference your work to publishable standards from the get-go and thus accelerate publication and examination success. We began this series a couple of weeks ago with a quick guide to MHRA style, which has recently been followed by an introduction to APA style (if you’ve missed them, check them out). Here, we’re moving on to Harvard referencing – perhaps the most widely used system in the United Kingdom and many other English-speaking countries. The University of Sheffield has produced a free-to-download, 76-page PDF that’ll tell you how to cite everything from a book to a work of art to a music album (physical and digital formats!). So we’d recommend that if you have a very specific question about Harvard. But if you’re looking for a slightly more condensed version, read on. As was the case in previous posts in this series, we’ll cover books, journal articles and chapters in edited volumes.


Harvard is an author-date system. In-text citations, enclosed in brackets, give the author’s (or authors’) surname(s), the date of publication and, if necessary, a page number. These citations are linked to a reference list at the end.

Reference list entry: Books

Author surname, Initial(s). (YYYY) Book title. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher.


Sandis, C. (2019) Character and causation: Hume’s philosophy of action. Abingdon: Routledge.

  • Note that only the initial of the author’s given name is provided. If an author has more than one given name, provide all initials, separated by a space, e.g. Chapman, L. R.
  • No punctuation mark follows the date
  • Harvard uses sentence case for most titles: only the first word and any proper nouns should be capitalised
  • References end in full points

Reference list entry: Journal articles

Author surname, Initial(s). (YYYY) ‘Article title’, Journal Title, V(I), pp. XX–XX. doi:


Stacey, J. and Biblarz, T. (2001) ‘(How) does the sexual orientation of parents matter?’, American Sociological Review, 66(2), pp. 159–183. doi:

  • Use ‘and’, not ‘&’, to separate two authors. Note that ‘and’ is not preceded by a comma
  • Place the article title in single quotation marks
  • Italicise the journal title and use maximum capitalisation (i.e. capitalise all major words). However, use sentence case for the article title
  • The page range should be preceded by ‘pp.’. Separate the first and last pages of the article using an en rule (–), not a hyphen (-)

Reference list entry: Chapters in edited books

Author surname, Initial(s). (YYYY) ‘Title of chapter’, in Editor’s surname, Initial(s) (ed.) Book title. Place of publication: Publisher, pp. XX–XX.


Mack-Canty, C. and Wright, S. M. (2008) ‘Feminist family values: parenting in third wave feminism and empowering all family members’, in O’Reilly, A. (ed.) Feminist mothering. Albany: SUNY, pp. 143–159.

  • Note that ‘in’, because it is preceded by a comma rather than a full point, is not capitalised
  • Use ‘ed.’ when there is only one editor but ‘eds.’ for multiple editors. Note the full point and the lowercase ‘e’

In-text citations

There are two types of in-text citations – parenthetical citations and narrative citations:

Parenthetical citations

(Mack-Canty and Wright, 2008; Sandis, 2019; Stacey and Biblarz, 2001)

Narrative citations

Mack-Canty and Wright (2008), Sandis (2019), and Stacey and Biblarz (2001) argue that…

  • A comma is placed before the date of publication
  • A semi-colon is used to separate multiple references within a citation
  • Use ‘et al.’ when there are four or more authors. This rule applies to in-text citations and reference list entries. Note that ‘et al.’ should be in italic
  • Provide a page number, preceded by ‘p.’, only when quoting directly:
    • ‘…’ (Stacey and Biblarz, 2001, p. 160)
    • Stacey and Biblarz (2001, p. 160) state that ‘…’

Hopefully, this post has answered some of your questions about Harvard style. Which referencing systems would you like to see in our Cite Right series? Let us know by emailing