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Harvard referencing style: Start here

Harvard is a style that uses the author/date in-text citation technique. This style is used in many universities, especially in the UK and Australasia.

The Harvard style of referencing

 You need to cite and reference your sources in your IB assessed written work. Just to remind you about the meaning of these terms:

  • citation is the method you use to identify where you have used a source of information in your text. 
  • reference comprises the details used to identify a source of information. 
  • References build up to form a reference list or bibliography.

Don't forget, you need to cite and reference a source of information if you quote the source in your text. However, many people forget that you also need to cite and reference a source if you paraphrase the source, or just refer to a specific source of information in your writing. 

Harvard is a major referencing style, often used in British and Australasian universities. It is a style, so is flexible. In fact, many universities produce their own version for their students to use. The style is based on:

a. in-text citation style - sometimes this is called the 'author-date' style, as these are the only details you put in your text (except if you include a direct quotation, in which case you need to include a page number)

b. full details of your source of information is included in a bibliography. The Harvard style gives an order for recording the elements or parts of the information required.

Further details are given in the tabs on this libguide. Harvard is an easy style to use

Can you use an online citation generator to help you?

Yes, you can use Easybib.

There is a LibGuide about setting up Easybib here

If you use an online citation generator, you need to check the accuracy of the work, so it is worth knowing how Harvard style works. 


What does the IB require?

The IB says that you (and your teacher) can choose a major style of referencing.

Once you have chosen a style, you need to be consistent in its use.

This means that in a piece of work, e.g. Extended Essay, TOK essay or IA, you need to stick with one style. In addition, you need to follow the style through. For example, if you use footnotes and have opted to use Harvard, you're not being consistent in your use of Harvard, as Harvard requires you to follow an in-text system where the author and date of publication of the source of information you use is given in parenthesis or brackets in the text - for example (Singh, 2003) or (Taylor, 1999). 

Subject Guide

Harvard style guides online

College Academic Honesty policy

Book explaining the Harvard style


This guide was created and maintained by Dr. Anthony Tilke, 2013-2015.