Harvard General Style Notes

Important: The Harvard style is an author-date citation system that has not been updated for more than 15 years and has no official institutional connection to Harvard University. The guidance provided on this website is based on an Australian style manual by Snooks and Co. (2002). If you have a choice of which citation style to use, a recommended alternative author-date system to Harvard is APA.

Before selecting a referencing style check with your tutor, lecturer or supervisor for the style preferred by the School or Department.

Introduction to the style

The Harvard style is an author-date referencing system with two key components:

  1. Citations in the text - usually the author's name and year of publication.
  2. A reference list at the end of the paper.

As the purpose of referencing is to acknowledge the source and to enable the reader to trace the sources, reference data must be accurate.

Access to the full style manual

This guide is based on an Australian style manual (AGPS style) revised by Snooks and Co. (rev.) 2002, Style manual for authors, editors and printers, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd., Milton, Qld.

The full style manual is not available as a library eBook. Print copies are available from the University of Melbourne library. Consult the official manual for more information.

In-text citations

  • In-text citations should be presented in a consistent style throughout a document.
  • In-text citations within brackets should be placed at the end of a sentence before the concluding punctuation. If, however, the citation refers to only part of a sentence, it should be placed at the end of the clause or phrase to which it relates. When the author’s name forms part of the sentence the citation is placed directly after the author’s name.
  • Use the author’s family name (no initials) and the year of publication for in-text citations e.g. (Smith 2008). Initials are only used when two or more authors have the same family name. e.g. (Smith, JB 2008) and (Smith, MA 1999). If a work has no author the title and year of publication should be used in the citation.
  • When the author's name forms part of the sentence only the year (and page number if necessary) is included in brackets. e.g. Smith (2008, p. 48) claimed that…
  • Give specific page numbers for quotations in the text and include a complete reference in the reference list. e.g. “The results were confirmed during the trial” (Hong 2001, p. 15)
  • When a work has more than one author cite the authors’ names in the order in which they appear in the publication. Where the authors' names form part of the sentence use 'and' to link the last two names, where the authors' names are contained within brackets in the text link the last two names with an ampersand '&'.
  • If more than one reference is used at the same point in the text they are included in the same set of brackets, ordered alphabetically by author name and separated by a semi-colon (Coats 2005; Ng & Hong 2003).

Reference list

  • The reference list entry begins with the family name of the author and is followed by the year of publication. There is no comma or full-stop between the family name and the year. Commas are used to separate all other elements. The reference entry finishes with a full-stop.
  • No full stops, and no spaces, are used with people’s initials.
  • An item with no author is cited by its title. In this case there is no comma or full-stop between the title and year.
  • There is no indentation of the references.
  • Each reference appears on a new line.
  • There is no numbering of the references.
  • The reference list should be ordered alphabetically by author family name. References with no author are ordered in the reference list alphabetically by the first significant word of the title.
  • Entries by the same single or multiple authors are arranged by year of publication, the earliest first.
    • Hong, BH & Yeung, KL 2001,
    • Hong, BH & Yeung, KL 2009,
  • References with the same first author and different second or third author are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the second author, or if the same, third, and so on.
    • Brown, J, Gold, F, & Black, L 2007,
    • Brown, J, Gold, F, & Greene, H 2006,
  • References by the same author (or by the same two or more authors in the same order) with the same publication date are arranged alphabetically by the first significant word of the title. Lower case letters - a, b, c, etc are placed immediately after the year.
    • Smith JR 2008a, Ancient civilization,
    • Smith JR 2008b, Roman times,
  • Where an item with no author has an editor (compiler, reviser or translator) cite the work by their name.
  • When a reference list entry begins with a name the initials follow the family name. This allows for correct alphabetical ordering of the reference list. If a name appears anywhere else the initials precede the family name.

    Daniels, PJ 1993, ' Australia's foreign debt: searching for the benefits', in P Maxwell & S Hopkins (eds), Macroeconomics: contemporary Australian readings, Harper Educational, Pymble, N.S.W.

  • All sources that are cited in the text must have full details provided in the reference list. If sources that have not been cited in the text need to be included (e.g. items used for background information) then the list should be called a bibliography.
  • Do not include personal communications, such as letters, informal email, in the reference list. Cite personal communications only in the text.


  • Acceptable abbreviations in the reference list for parts of books and other publications include:
ch. chapter
edn edition
ed. ( eds) editor (editors)
n.d. no date
p. (pp.) page (pages)
ser. series
suppl. supplement
rev. revised
trans. translator(s)
vol. volume (as in vol. 4)
vols volumes (as in 4 vols.)