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Harvard Format


DEFINITION: The Harvard formatting style is similar to the APA (American Psychological Association) format but has two major differences. The Harvard style does not have a manual and there are various versions that can be followed. However, one common element that is adhered to in this writing format is using author name/date system when citing as reference books, articles and other documents.

Like the APA style, Harvard format uses an in-text citation and bibliography at the end of the essay. When citing a reference in the body of an essay, the author’s name and year of publication is included and enclosed in brackets. Bibliographic references are put in alphabetic order and contain the name of the published or unpublished material along with and the publisher. Information in the reference is based on what is included in the cited passage.

 PHYSICAL SET-UP: Make sure you use 8½” x 11.0” paper with a 1.0” margin on all sides (top, bottom, left and right); be sure to double space all lines unless otherwise instructed.
HEADER: A cover page should have a header with page numbers right-aligned. Then an abbreviated title is inserted flush left. All pages after the title page must have the abbreviated title flush left and page numbers flush right.

IDENTIFYING INFORMATION: After the header, the first page has three lines that are centered on the page vertically & horizontally:

Line 1: essay title
Line 2: author’s name
Line 3: school name

The following is how these three lines appear on the cover page:
Vacationing in Thailand
Germaine Desmond

INTRODUCTION: The second page of the essay has an introduction; it also contains a lead that draws the reader into the paper. This device is referred to as “a hook.”

THESIS STATEMENT: Usually found within the introduction is your thesis statement. This is the hypothesis to be supported in the body of the essay. Also at the top of the second page you should have the title of the essay and the headers on the right side.


BODY: The essay body should include substantiating paragraphs that support the thesis made in the introduction.

IN-TEXT CITATIONS: These are to support a thesis in an essay. Proper formatting for citations used in Harvard essays includes the author’s name and year of publication of the work in question.  Sort quotations (less than forty words) are place in double quotation marks within the body of the text. If quote is longer than 40 words, it should be double spaced and indented five (5) spaces from the left margin.

The citation is placed at the end of the sentence that’s been quoted; the punctuation then follows.


Appearance were deceiving; the real purpose of soldiers’ attack was not to overcome the enemy but rather to attain control of the water supply that fed the town (Cogburn 1956). 

If a page number is to be used, the format is as follows:

“Give me the big city; its lights and action are conducive to my kind of life” (Austin 2003, p. 39).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: All sources used in an essay in Harvard style must be acknowledged in the paper’s bibliography.


Author’s Last name, First initial. Year of publication, Title (underlined or in italics), edition (only in not the first), Publisher, Place of publication, page number (if applicable).

Real example-

Renny, M. 1956, The end of humanity as we know it, Knowledge Base, Austin.


Author’s Last Name, First initial. Year of publication, Title of article in single quotation marks, Title of article (underlined or in italics), volume, issue, page number.

Real example-

Hendrickson, Myrna. 2006, ‘The misinterpretation of astrological signs.’ Horoscopes for All, 23, 4, p. 16.

Web site

Author Last name, First initial, date of publication, title of publication in single quotation marks, Publisher, edition (only if not the first), type of medium, date retrieved, full web url address.

Real example-

Moses, Wendy. 2008, ‘Best trees for your backyard,’ Garden Days, [Online], Retrieved 31 December 2009 from:  http://www.treedom7.org/yards/12001/htm.







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