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  • September 9, 2016
  • David Marks
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Harvard Referencing At Liverpool Hope Detailed Guide

Introduction: What Is Referencing?

Referencing can be defined as:

“The process of informing readers of your work, where you obtained your information, and enabling them to check the sources you used themselves. It also acknowledges your debt to the work done by the authors you have read” (Grix and Watkins, 2010, p.105).

Grix, J. and Watkins, G. (2010) Information skills: finding and using the right resources. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Why reference?

  1. To avoid accusations of plagiarism, i.e. passing other people’s work off as your own, you must always acknowledge when you have used other people’s work in your academic writing.
  2. Referencing helps the reader see where the ideas behind your work have come from.
  3. Good references should give the reader enough information to check those sources themselves.

References give your writing authority and tell your tutors you have researched your work properly by referring to experts in your subject. You should not make unsubstantiated claims in your academic writing without referring to evidence.  Reference to other people’s work helps provide you with that evidence.

What is the Harvard system?

The Harvard system of referencing, sometimes referred to as ‘the author-date system’, has 2 stages:

Referring to sources in the text of your essay, this is called the citation and consists of the author and date of their work.

  1. An alphabetical list of references at the end of your essay which gives the full details of the publications in your citations.

Contrary to what you may think there is no universal Harvard system, rather it is best thought of as a style of referencing. As a consequence if you read several guides to Harvard referencing, they may all give slightly different advice on how to construct references. Inconsistencies will tend to relate to minor variances in punctuation and phraseology. What follows in this document is guidance on how you will be expected to construct Harvard citations and Harvard reference lists at Liverpool Hope University.

This handbook is designed to support students expected to use Harvard referencing for their work. You should check with your programme handbook and with your academic tutors which referencing system you are expected to use.

Part One: In text citation

The following guidance explains how you should reference authors’ work in the body of the text of your written work. There are 2 aspects of this:paraphrasing and direct quotation. Different rules apply to each set of circumstances.

1. Paraphrasing

When you express an author’s ideas in your own words you need to give the author and publication date only.

If the author’s name occurs naturally in your writing, just include the publication date in brackets e.g.

Smith (2011) states that properly constructed references are a key part of academic writing.

Alternatively you may wish to state an author’s views / findings in your own words in your text and acknowledge at the end of your sentence.In this case put both the author’s name and publication date in brackets e.g.

Properly constructed references are a key component of academic writing (Smith, 2011).

2. Quotations

If you directly quote from an author’s work you need to give the following information in this order:

Author                  Date of publication          Page number(s)(the quotation appears on)

Citations to quotations should be given in the format: 

Short quotations

For quotations less than 2 lines in length, the quotation should be put in single inverted commas ‘…’

The quotation can be put in your sentence as a continuation of your text without separating e.g.

Smith (2011, p.25) states that ‘it is imperative that your academic work is properly referenced’.

As with paraphrasing, if the author’s name appears naturally in your writing as in the above example, just enclose the year of publication and page number in brackets.

Long quotations

For quotations longer than 2 lines in length separate the quotation from the rest of your paragraph and indent at the margins on both sides. You do not need to use quotation marks e.g.

It has been stated that:

One of the most common reasons that university students carelessly lose marks for their assessed work is lack of properly constructed references. It is imperative that academic work is properly referenced (Smith, 2011, p.25).

As with paraphrasing, because the author’s name has not occurred naturally in our writing the entire citation (author’s name, year of publication and page number) has been enclosed in brackets.

Quoting part of a sentence

If you only wish to quote part of a sentence you should use an ellipsis. Put three dots where the words are missing … This applies if the quote you are writing is not the start of a sentence. Examples:


David Marks

Dear sir/Ma'am

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