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Referencing with Harvard

Referencing and citation styles

A reference and a citation are abbreviated ways of referring to one specific resource like a book, an article or an online resource. It consists of a combination of an in-text citation as well as its bibliographic equivalence in the reference list:

  • in-text citations usually consist of the author's name, year of publication and/or page number (e.g. Wilson, 2015, p. 55)
  • references in the reference list or bibliography include information on the author's name, publication title, date, publisher, journal title, or date of access depending on the type of publication.

There are various systems or styles that provide guidelines on how to format or order this information, including the use of italics, punctuation, abbreviations, and capitalization. Sometimes these styles stem from specific disciplines as with the American Psychological Association (APA), Harvard or the Modern Language Association (MLA). 

On the Internet, you will find many practical resources on how to use the various citation styles like Cite This For Me (CTFM) Citation Guides.

At our university, two referencing styles are used: APA and Harvard. The Library offers two guides, one for APA and one for Harvard. 

At the Academy of Hotel and Facility Management, both styles are in use. This guide will only elaborate on the Harvard style.


Harvard is a referencing style which originates from the Harvard University. It is used for humanities, natural, history, behavioural and social sciences.  It is characterized for example by in-text citations according to the author-date format, and page numbers when it involves a quotation. The reference list is ordered alphabetically by the last name of the first author.

Librarian top tip! It is important to know that there are many variations on the Harvard referencing style. Automated referencing tools may interpret the Harvard referencing style differently.

This Libguide is based on the Guide to the Harvard System of referencing (6th edition, 2020), which was created by the Library of the Anglia Ruskin University. More information can be found on their website

Follow the basic reference recipe consistently and you will reference correctly!