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Referencing: Harvard

Comprehensive guide to the Harvard Referencing Style

Reference List Overview

When you’ve cited another author’s words or ideas, you include a reference list entry at the end of your document, recording the full details of the cited source.

Creating a reference list:

  • Start your reference list on a new page
  • Arrange entries in the reference list in alphabetical order by the author's surname, the organisation's name, or the title of the source if the author is unknown. Make sure the author used for the reference matches the author used in the in-text citation so that your readers can match the citation with the reference
  • For sources with multiple authors, don't change the order of the authors within the reference entry, instead use the first author listed to determine where that reference is placed in the list
  • In a reference list, as a general rule, only include sources that you have cited within the text, and make sure that all sources cited within your text have a corresponding reference list entry 
  • Use parentheses around the year of publication
  • If there is no year of publication, use the term n.d. instead (which means no date)
  • Include initials for all of the given names for each author, without spaces or punctuation between the initials.  For example, the author John Thomas Halloran would be listed in the reference list as Halloran JT


Please note: It is not possible to include examples in this guide for all of the varieties of sources that exist. The most commonly-used sources have been included, however, if you find a source that doesn't match the examples in this guide, we recommend the following:

  • Try to match the source to its closest example in the guide
  • Use the general reference rules below to create the reference list entry
One author:

For sources written by one author, list their surname followed by the initial/s of their given name/s. There is no full stop or space between the author’s initials.

Rule: Author A

Example: Gibson, D. (2018) Rethinking medicinal plants and plant medicines. Anthropology Southern Africa. [Online] 41 (1), 1–14. 4, DOI: 10.1080/23323256.2017.1415154

Two or more authors:

For sources written by multiple authors, list all of their names in the reference list entry in the same order as they appear in the source. Use commas to separate names and an 'and' before the final author’s name. For example:

Rule: Author A and Author B; Author A, Author B and Author C

Example: Heriyanto, Christiani, L., & Rukiyah. (2022). Lecturers’ information literacy experience in remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLOS ONE, 17(3), e0259954.



Organisation as the author:

In the case where an organisation is listed as the author, use the name of the organisation in the place of a person.

Rule: Abbreviation of organisation (full name of organisation)

Example: New partnership to strengthen regulatory systems.(Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs)(Regulatory action and news)(Brief article)” (2014) WHO drug information, 28(1), p. 27.

Anonymous/unknown author:

Make sure that your in-text citation and reference list entry match. If you have used the name of a blog, website, newspaper, or magazine in your in-text citation in place of the author, use the same name in your reference list.  If you have used the title of the work in place of the author in your in-text citation, use the title in place of the author in your reference list.


Multiple works by the same author:

If there are multiple sources by the same author, arrange them in chronological order by publication year. For more than one entry by the same author published in the same year, add a lower-case letter to the end of the year in both the citation and the reference list entry (2014a, 2014b, etc.).


Multiple works by different authors with the same surname:

Arrange these in alphabetical order using the first author's initials.


Editors and translators:

If the main creator of the source is an editor reference the source under their name and include the abbreviation ed. or eds. for more than one. For translated works, use the original author’s name in the in-text citation.

Reference titles using the same words that appear in the source. The titles are formatted differently depending on whether the source is a part of a publication or a complete publication.

Parts of a publication include journal articles, newspaper articles, and chapters in edited books. Present titles of parts of publications in single quotation marks and roman typeface (without italics).

Complete publications include journal issues/volumes, newspapers, and books. Present their titles in italics. For the reference list entry order the parts of publications first and complete publications second. 


Many sources published online, including journal articles, government and industry publications, ebooks, and reports, have a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Include DOIs in your reference list if they exist as they are more stable than URLs. DOIs sometimes have the form of a URL. If so, you don’t need to include the HTTP, etc., start at (etc). If there is no DOI, include the database or the URL instead, preceded by a full stop.


With a DOI

Gibson, D. (2018) Rethinking medicinal plants and plant medicines. Anthropology Southern Africa. [Online] 41 (1), 1–14. 4, DOI: 10.1080/23323256.2017.1415154



Without a DOI:

Smith, J. & Arendse, A. (2019) The role of Parliament in promoting active citizenship in relation to the Grade 11 Life Orientation in the South African curriculum. TD : The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa. [Online] 15 (1), 1–9.




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